In about two weeks, my mornings are going to become a lot easier. Not just for the summer, but for the rest of my kids-at-home parenting days. For the last two years I have repeated my morning routine twice every single day. This is a luxury, I know, but my work schedule is flexible and they love their sleep. So every day, my middle schooler gets up, dressed, fed, and out the door. After a twenty minute reprieve to check email or blow dry my hair, I do the whole thing over again when I drag my fifth grader out of bed.

I have too often felt frustrated and bogged down by the slow pace of these mornings. If I am not showered and dressed by 6 am, that has to wait until after 8, pushing back the start of my work day and leaving me feeling frazzled when I do finally arrive at my desk. But, always on the distant horizon has been the knowledge that one day, the schedules will align again. That miracle day, when I can be seated at my computer by 7:05 am, is almost here. The possibility this new schedule enables is ridiculously inspiring. I sometimes fantasize about how much I will check off my to-do list by 9 am.

Somehow, now that the much anticipated day is almost here, all I can think is, I wish this wasn’t over yet. I have never been one to wish for time to slow down, or to magically return to the baby-toddler days (way too hard for me), yet I find myself struggling to let go of these extended mornings I often thought I did not love.

Our mornings have not been perfect, but they have been uniquely ours. My middle schooler is a man of routine: same breakfast, same packed lunch. He wants to start his day with some consistency, and I have cherished being able to provide that for him. Sometimes we discuss the news or sports scores, or rehash his favorite episodes of The Office or The West Wing, but lately we’ve just been quiet—together. And that has been so nice. We do not compete for one another’s attention, we just have it. The morning presents an option for shared stillness that those after school hours simply cannot.

Crazy Hair Day-a busy morning for sure

My daughter is more of a whirlwind: unpredictable mood, too many shoe options, hair that refuses to be tamed. Her breakfast whims vary from smoothies, to egg burritos, to cereal and back again. This hour is often more trying for me— I have been up for ages and I am eager to get on with my day— but I know the time is fleeting. In two short weeks, it is gone forever. Elementary school is ending for our family. No more recess. We will not have another larger-than-life teacher who spends more of her day with our kids than we do. No more bike rides to school. She will not have time to carefully select her Spotify breakfast playlist next year. My elaborate French braids will morph into top knots she casually twists into place as she runs out the door.

And just like that, another piece of childhood, and of motherhood, will disappear. Buried deep into my archives, with the Spiderman tee shirts, talking Buzz Lightyear, and everything else in the dilapidated dress-up bin. I am excited for what comes next. I truly am. It is the genuine anticipation of the next phase of family life that keeps me from feeling just plain sad this week. Still, this is an ending, and one that feels important to savor, yet hard to celebrate.

I cannot help but wonder, will my kids even notice this change? After a summer of lounging around, when September routines reemerge, will they remember what was lost? Maybe not. Perhaps that is best.

I want them to remain hopeful, embracing today and looking toward tomorrow, not longing to return to the past.

At the same time, I want my children to know that our quiet mornings together were intentional. Some days felt too hard, exhausting, or just plain boring, but starting our days alone together was a choice. Embracing this time did not come naturally to me, but I learned to love it well…before I lost it. I guess this is what I want my kids to understand.

Yes, you have to get out of bed to face each new day. How you choose to do that, and what purpose and meaning you derive from it, is always up to you.

So, in this season of graduation and life transition, I am going to savor what we have had. And when it is gone, I am going to jump right in to what lies ahead.

 

Periods of transition affect everyone differently.

If you or your teen are feeling anxious or unsettled about the big changes and decisions that lie on your own horizon— high school, college, career, life— I can help. Contact me if you would like to connect and learn how I support families through the college planning process. Or, schedule an appointment here.