It’s Time to Move On…Seriously

I have a problem when it comes to endings. I know I am not alone in this, as I was reminded when The Middle referenced a genius Shel Silverstein quote in this week’s episode:

“There are no happy endings.
Endings are the saddest part,
So just give me a happy middle
And a very happy start.”

Suffice it to say, this time of year can bite me. Here are some of the reasons why.

G making her First Communion this year. Another first, come and gone
G making her First Communion this year. Another first, come and gone

My daughter’s last day of second of grade is tomorrow. Big deal, you say. Well, it IS a big frickin’ deal. You might not think the completion of the second grade year is all that much of a milestone, but what you didn’t know is that next year, she moves upstairs. Uh huh. Upstairs. With bigger people. Which means she will be one of those bigger people. And I will have to go out of my way to spy on her when I am randomly up at school for an errand. And that means I probably won’t do it because, despite there being something just a bit magical about going unnoticed and seeing your child in the midst of the learning process, going out of my way to do so seems like a very “helicopter parent” thing to do. That is coupled with the fact that she recently moaned that it will be FOR-EV-ER until she moves out of the house when I told her that was the exact time she could stop blow drying her hair at night and let her pillow get all moldy…to which I responded, “it won’t be forever. You are almost halfway there.” Then I promptly exited her room, grabbed the chocolate Fiber One cereal (which was the only chocolate thing we happened to have in the house), went to my room, and cried while I shoved my mouth with cereal and watched the video where four-year-old Grace sings “Once Upon a Dream” while playing the booze guitar I brought her from Vegas…after I drank 80 ounces of pina colada out of it. And she got away with not drying her hair. And then I had to use the facilities. You know, because of the Fiber One.

the office jim and dwight
photo credit: theofficeisms.com

I also had to admit The Office is finally over. I’m not going to say, “it was time.” I’m not going to say, “it hasn’t been as funny in years.” Because I was invested. And when you’re invested, all you really need are those quirky characters you’ve grown to love to make you smile for a half hour once a week. It’s like life. You might fall in love with your significant other because he used to bring you flowers every week back when you both had extra time and disposable income, but hopefully you don’t say to him, I think it’s time, when all he ends up bringing home is himself…and maybe the chickpeas you forgot for that night’s dinner.

M's Last First Day of Preschool. He already looks little to me in this picture.
M’s Last First Day of Preschool. He already looks little to me in this picture.

Finally, my son finished preschool…forever. And since he is my baby, that means I am finished with preschool as well…forever. A whole chapter of my life as a mother has come to a close. The preschool years have their own character, and there is no easing into the next phase. Kindergarten is a “take no prisoners” kind of deal: Hey, look at me! I’m Kindergarten. I’m going to keep your kid away from home practically all day for five days a week. And I come complete with a full extra curricular schedule of sports and club activities. And I work hard to correct your kid’s endearing speech impediments and force him to stop saying things like “hosiple” for “hospital” and “chappy chap” for “chapstick.” And I’m going to teach him how to read and write and spell and do math and turn him into a regular person just like everyone else on earth, instead of letting him be that miniature sprite-like creature who isn’t really a baby but is too fresh and glowy to be like a real person yet. And I’m going to steal away your time with him, making it hard to randomly take him to a park on a shinning, breezy afternoon for some quick after-lunch fun. Or take him to the Magic House during the week to avoid going there on the weekend with everyone else and their brother…and their brother’s friend…and their brother’s friend’s neighbor. Michael has only been out of preschool for a week, and it is already happening. The other day he told me he knew what 1+1 was…and he wasn’t lying. He totally knew the answer. That’s math, people. The the whole foundation of math right there. Thankfully, after acknowledging his brilliance, I said that I bet he also knew what 2+2 was, to which he responded, “Mom, that’s not even a math problem.” Whew. There’s still some preschooler in there.

So yeah, I was pretty weepy on Michael’s last day of preschool. Our family has been there for the last five years. I went around to each and every teacher my children have had and didn’t really say anything, but just gave them each a hug and did that stupid weepy thing I do, just like I did during The Office finale, and just like I will probably do at some point tomorrow when Grace finishes second grade. Those endings are the saddest part, because their starts and middles HAVE been so happy. Something as small as being able to peep into Grace’s classroom and see her learning at her desk because it is already on my way out of the building after having to run a quick errand at her school has made me happy. Spending a half hour once a week with characters who showed up into my life just a week after I became a mother, who made me miss being at work and satisfied to be a stay-at-home mom all at once, and who made me laugh, giggle, and/or snort has made me happy. And being a mom of preschoolers has made me happy. Very, very happy.

But the end has come and gone, and now I must move on. It’s time to work on that whole “very happy start” thing, because I already know the ending is going to leave me forever wanting more, which can never be satisfied.

That’s what she said.

 

8 Responses

  1. kathy sack

    Oh, Kelly! You really touched my heart with this one! I know the difficulty of endings, and I got a bit weepy at the end of THe Office also. Saying goodbye to a time in your life is so hard, and it takes a lot out of a person. I could say that endings often (but not always) mean beginnings. And I could say that there is joy in each new chapter, but instead I will say that I am sorry you are having so many endings right now. So go out and get some ice cream (Serendipity perhaps) and relish those great memories. Love you.

    • Any excuse for ice cream, right? :) This time of year always makes me hyper-aware of beginning and endings. And I know good things undoubtedly lie in store. But it almost seems like I need to properly grieve the ending before I can really appreciate the beginning of something new. And seeing how life has played out for others shows me things I have to look forward too…like seeing the joy you have had in raising your boys, and now reaping the benefits of having your life back to yourself and finding new ways to enjoy your family. Oh, and getting that new kitchen. That is a great new beginning!

  2. Allison Braswell

    I can relate, so much so I had to read this post in increments, too many feelings come rushing back! So glad I’m not alone!

    • Aw! I am touched that it resonated with you! No one is alone in this…and I think parents are especially aware of the constant series of beginnings and endings. Thanks for your comment.

  3. There’s a reason teachers love teaching third grade. Because third graders are freaking awesome!!! I student taught third grade and thought it would be a big drag with a bunch of babies who I had to talk down to. Nuh-uh. They were bright, interested, inquisitive and, best of all, not yet hormonal. And kindergarteners? Can we say fun to watch their world’s open up but still have enough baby in them that they are so freaking cute and say some of the funniest things? My own daughter is leaving elementary school and going to middle school. Today, I looked out the window and saw her, her friend and….a boy. A big boy. A middle school boy. Ok, he’s only a year older than them but . . .he’s a boy! And for my son? It’s the beginning of the end as he enters senior year in high school.

    I almost thought I was too busy to read this, but so glad I didn’t hit delete. Great post, especially the part where kindergarten talked to you.

    Here’s to happy beginnings for you, I and our kiddos.

    • So I didn’t cry writing my own post, but I did reading your comment. I’m always happy when people don’t hit delete :) but I totally know what you mean. I find myself doing it on a daily basis for the same reason. And the funny thing is, I almost didn’t write this post. I felt too busy, and almost not inspired. I was worried it would just come out as a “blah blah she’s sad about kids growing up and that’s so cliche” kind of thing. I didn’t even feel that great about it when I hit the publish button. So seeing that it has struck a chord with people here and on my Facebook page has really touched me for some weird reason. Like, really made me weepy. And hearing what you had to say about third graders and kindergarteners made me excited for what the next year will bring. I mean, could this finally be THE golden year? The one when BOTH of my kids simultaneously rock (because when one does, you know the other is always having an off year)?? It also sounds like it could lead to some prime blogging material (score!) And then I just started getting weepy for you, seeing your own kids on the precipice of big changes that somehow make mine seem so small. But you said it,…here’s to happy beginnings for all of us. Thank you for that comment. Really.

  4. Carolyn Schutte

    I wish I could have written something like this when I left fifth grade with Erica and eighth grade too. I’d come rather late to elementary school because I worked until I knew my son was entering a middle school with 1100 other sets of raging hormones and I knew he wasn’t going alone. After all, I’d gone to High School with 124 other sets of somewhat more settled hormones and wished I’d had more backup. So I jumped into the whole thing at both schools with both feet. But five years later when I walked out of middle school with Erica I couldn’t believe I had been coming to that school for five years. It was over. I was done. I continued Mothers Clubbing at both high schools but it was never the same again, after all, it was high school. Enjoy Kindergarten. It’s still better than elementary school.

    • I don’t even want to think about hormones! But you are right…it goes so quickly. It feels like I just started Grace at preschool, and now it is weird to think I will never sit in that carpool line again or read a book to one of my kids in the hallway while we wait for class to start.

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