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OK, I will give them back to school

I love summer.  I absolutely love summer.  When school lets out in June I can see summer stretching out in front of me like one of those long Arizona highways.  Gone is the stress of finals, the early morning wake-ups, the packing of school lunches and the frantic afternoon driving.  It is the time our family decompresses, relaxes and travels.  I get to take my watch off for a while!

This year we sent the kids off to summer camp for 3 weeks- in Switzerland. They had been there before so the thought was not overly daunting.  Their last week of camp my husband and I took advantage of some “us time” and visited Budapest.  Then we picked the kids up in Switzerland and spent two weeks traveling around Italy.  This was by far my favourite part of the summer.

And now the summer is over.  I have spent the last two weeks in denial of the fact that we are back.  I see September 2nd looming in the calendar, and appropriately, it is coloured grey!  This morning I woke up and realized it was our last Tuesday of summer vacation.  And that got me thinking.  I am sending my kids back to school next week, but I am not sending the same kids I got back at the end of June.  No, these are different kids.

What is different?  They have tried new foods, been new places, roomed with kids from other nations.  They have had to be flexible, resourceful and patient.  Every time we get back from one of our trips I can see how they have grown.  Sometimes just a little, sometimes by leaps and bounds.  This was a leaps and bounds kind of summer.  Something happens when they are out of their comfort zone.  They have to dig deep inside and pull out from within what they thought they did not have.  This summer they all had to dig deep and pull!!!  They had a great time, and they achieved a lot.

The two weeks we spent together were precious.  It was the time we totally reconnected as a family.  It was the moment we parents had them to ourselves.  We got to know them better; we got to see their change.  We spent hours at cafes talking and laughing. It was amazing to see them release and unfold all these ideas that have been cooking up in their heads for the past year. Thinking about it, I now realize how the summer built on their school year.  The academic and social skills they developed all of a sudden blossom during the months their brains are on vacation.  Its almost like they had enough downtime to process.  That was my aha! moment:  the “built on the school year” thing.

So now I feel a little better.  I am willing to hand them back to school.  I am putting my watch on.  I will make their lunches, drive them, stress with them and about them.  We will all get back on that treadmill we call life.  Then summer will be back and they will have the chance to bloom all over again!

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Varenna, Lake Como, Italy.

Not sure what was best, the cappuccino or the conversation!