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by Dawn Edwards

Back-to-school. Insert sad face. I know for many parents this has become a day of celebration. But for this Mama, it’s all boohoos. And not just from my kids. I’m none too happy about this day either.

This yearly mourning started when my two older girls were first in school. I relished our summer freedom – sleeping in, staying in PJs ALL DAY, park play dates, pool days and beach trips in the middle of the week. Back to school meant grumpy girls when the early morning alarm went off, battles of bad hair days and the never-ending, Santa Clarita school traffic where apparently all logic and traffic laws go out the window! So no, I did not celebrate those back to school days.

This year is NO different. But life sure is! The dreaded August back-to-school season brought a whole new flood of emotions.

My eldest started her second year of college. So back-to-school for her meant actually LEAVING our home. Moving out. Gone. For at least 9 months. Reassurances of “she’s just an hour away”, or “it gets easier each year” are just flat out NOT TRUE. Don’t believe the lie.

Back to school meant grumpy girls when the early morning alarm went off, battles of bad hair days and the never-ending, Santa Clarita school traffic

My middle is a sophomore in High School. And for any families navigating high school, let me say now: I’m sorry.  The homework load is astronomical. The social scene is cruel. The sports and extra curricular activities that supposedly help get your student into college, (you remember - college? When they leave. Move out. Are gone. Yeah, that college.) well, that just keeps you in your car for hours on end playing taxi driver to the non-driving students. And let’s be real here. Even if your student is old enough to drive, do you really want them out there on the roads with all of us crazy Mom’s trying to get those same students to all those activities? No thank you.

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But wait. There’s more.

Our youngest – yes, God saw fit to surprise us with a THIRD girl 5 short years ago – started Kindergarten. I don’t remember Kindergartners being THAT SMALL. Whose crazy idea is it to take twenty 5-year-olds, put them in a room with one adult and make them SIT for 7 hours a day? Those teachers seriously deserve a medal! Or at least unlimited Starbucks for life. And sending that one, who is not even CLOSE to being cooked yet, off to school 5 days a week just about sent me over the emotional edge.

So no. I don’t like back-to-school.

But one thing I do know is this: there is a season for everything. And despite popular thought, that is not a John Lennon idea. It’s a GOD idea.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8  

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
 A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.

I remember when my two older girls were little, I had so many friends tell me, “Enjoy this. It goes so fast.” And while I believed them, it did not FEEL true. The days dragged on and it seemed they would never be able to make their own lunches, let alone grow up and leave. But low and behold, those friends were right. And the writer of Ecclesiastes knew the profound reality of this. His encouragement to the reader is to remind us that God has planted eternity in the human heart (verse 11). Seasons come. Seasons go. Life is hard. Life is fun. We feel happy. We grieve. But our purpose is eternity.

I had so many friends tell me, “Enjoy this. It goes so fast.” And while I believed them, it did not FEEL true.

So for whatever season you are in, remember it won’t last forever. It will change. And in the end, we are only here on earth for…well…a season. So hang in there parents. Back-to-school may not be your favorite time either, but value this season. Stay present. As any empty-nester will say, it goes fast. And you’ll miss it when it’s over.

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