Well it's finally here, the official
end of summer. Everyone has had that one last swim and/or cookout.
It's time to pack up the floats and flippers. Put away the coolers
and oscillating fans and pull out the space heaters and antifreeze.
The end of summer means trading in
sun-bronzed skin for chapped lips and bulky sweaters. It is the final
wearing of white shoes until Easter (flip flops are still optional
until it snows, so long as they're not white).
The animal babies of spring have grown
and learned to survive on their own. All summer long, we watched baby
birds from the time they were in their eggs until a few weeks ago,
when we peeked into the nest to find them gone. They had finally
learned to fly.
Perhaps most depressing of all, the end
of summer brings with it the end of summer vacation. Children
everywhere have to go back to school.
My 5-year-old son, Zeb, recently got a
harsh introduction to the real world. He started kindergarten.
Zeb is a homebody. If he had a choice
of going to the moon or staying home and playing outside, he would
stay home. Most of the time I am proud of this because maybe it means
he has a safe, loving and super fun home. Other times I worry he
might grow up to be a grumpy old hermit who frightens children.
Needless to say, going from one half
day a week of "Mother's Day Out" to five days a week of
full-time school has been an adjustment.
The first day of school went just fine.
We saw one little boy wailing and clinging to his mother. Zeb looked
surprised and I felt smug, thinking, "I'm glad that's not MY
kid…" All that changed on day two.
Zeb cried and clung the rest of the
week. His teacher had to peel him off of me.
When he realized his mother was
heartless and he would have to go (and stay) crying or not, Zeb tried
other avenues to get out of school.
He came home one day talking about
getting expelled. He told me he knew that meant "you got kicked out
of school." He was seriously considering this. I explained to him
the various punishments he might encounter at home if he did "get
kicked out of school" and then I told him about Alternative School.
That ended that.
Literally the next day, Zeb very
dramatically fell in the front door clutching his stomach saying he
had a terrible tummy ache. At first, I was thrown.
"Great, a virus," I thought.
I felt of his head, no fever. I asked
about other symptoms but there didn't seem to be any. Hmmm… I
looked at him with a raised eyebrow.
"Okay! Okay!" He screeched. "A
boy in my class said HIS tummy hurt and HE got to go straight home
I told him the only way I was coming to
get him from school was if he was throwing up and/or was having
problems in the bathroom and/or had a fever. And then, I would take
him straight from school to the doctor's office. He got up off the
floor and it was as if he was cured. He skipped out of the room.
I have been parking and walking him
into his classroom every morning but the school asked us to stop
doing that after the second week. I knew he was going to have to get
out of the car on his own and go to his classroom. I worried he might
figure out how to slip away and NOT go inside.
The first day he was supposed to get
out on his own, he simply refused to do it. He sat tight in his
booster seat, thinking if he just stayed in the car, I would drive
him back home. I was wondering what the mother bird would do if her
chick refused to even try to fly. Would she push it out of the nest? Would the school resource officer arrest me if I pushed him out onto
the sidewalk and drove off?
In the end, Zeb did get out of the car
and he did walk inside the building. He must have made it to class
because he came home with proof in his backpack that he had done
schoolwork that day.
Things have gone pretty smoothly since
the stand off (or sit off, as it were) in the parking lot. Now I find
myself lingering in the drop off lane to make sure he has his
backpack and his lunch and to be sure he goes in the right door. I
wait to see if he will look back and wave one more time-- he never
The end of summer is sad indeed. Do you
think mother birds feel this way too?
Melissa Kinton is a stay-at-home mom.
She is currently rearing one son, one daughter, two cats, two dogs,
two horses, and one husband. She may be reached at