By Stephen Vance, Editor
Maybe it’s just me, but if you look closely when you are out and about, perhaps at the grocery store, or at the beach, or in the morning queue at the coffee shop, in recent days parents everywhere have been sporting that subtle but knowing look on their faces – summer is almost over.
While it may be sad to say goodbye to the warm summer months, to days spent reading books at the beach while children splash in the water, to relaxing evenings under the stars in the back yard, parents, though they may feel some sadness at the end of yet another summer, are anticipating that sense of relief when the kids finally return to school.
Not that we parents don’t enjoy the seemingly endless feeding times required to fuel those adventurous little bodies, or the constant negotiations for later and later bedtimes, or the sand and muck dragged into the house that accompanies each return from a summer outing, or the astounding (to parents) claims of boredom on a perfectly beautiful August day, but even with good things, the end can bring with it a sweet reward.
Next week our children trade in their sandals and bathing suits for backpacks and text books, and while we all love those kids incredibly, it is about time!
When the kids return to school, parents instantly recover some valuable free time in the evenings when the little ones head to bed at nine o’clock rather than midnight. Sure, we fill part of that time preparing lunches for the following day, or filling out forms that have come home from school, or reviewing completed (or incomplete) homework assignments, but those hardly seem like chores when parents consider the blissful silence that settles upon the household once those kids’ heads hit their pillows hours earlier than they have for the last two months.
In the daylight hours once September rolls around, parents also find relief in knowing their children are tucked safely into a classroom. Gone are the worries of those summer adventures turning into misadventures while the parents are at work, or that every light in the house is ablaze on a sunny July day while mom and dad are slaving away in order to ensure the next hydro bill is paid.
The other reason most parents are thrilled at this time of year is that though children might utter groans of discontent at the prospect of returning to the confines of a classroom, we parents (with a few decades of distance) often have fond memories of heading back to school which we get to relive with the end of each Labour Day weekend.
Our children might be irritated at our romanticized memories of returning to school, but (children cover your eyes) give it a decade or two and those same students lamenting the return to school now, will also create their own happy memories of their school years once the sting of homework assignments and cramming for exams has faded away in favour of recollections of school dances and field trips.
You see, we love you kids, and summer has been a blast, but go back to school already!
To all of the kids returning to school next week, on behalf of The Meaford Independent, I wish you the best of luck. And to the parents, I extend congratulations – we’ve survived another summer. And for those parents who are less pleased than some of us that summer has come to an end, no need to worry, we get to do it all over again in about ten months.