Like most parents, there were lots of mixed emotions around my house about back to school.
Generally, it’s easier to manage our work schedules when the kids are in school. There is less running around to various camps and doctor’s appointments when school is in session.
As far as the kids, it’s a bit sad for them. They have enjoyed later bedtimes and sleeping in more than ever before. I think Beckett’s record was 10:10 one rainy weekend morning in July. Carson never sleeps past 7 a.m., no matter what time he goes to bed, but he enjoyed not having to rush out of the house in the summer.
Once the realities set in that school was starting, whether they wanted it to or not, we saw some excitement from our third and fifth graders. While neither look forward to homework and tests, they were ready to get to know their teachers and see their classmates.
Carson was first up to go back to school on Tuesday. As a result of a lot of new folks in his school life this year, I thought it was 50-50 whether we left school without him getting worked up over us leaving. Fortunately, he did better than we expected, which is usually the case. After a few photos, he sat down at his desk and immediately got to work on a word search his new teacher had set out for his class to complete during homeroom.
Carson’s first day is always filled with anxiety for us. As is the case with most kids on the spectrum, he doesn’t do well with change, new faces and different expectations. However, we were thrilled to hear he had a great first day in his new surroundings. We live day to day with Carson and go with the flow. A positive first day to his third grade year is all we were hoping for and it happened.
Beckett’s turn to head back to school came on Wednesday when he kicked off fifth grade, which will mark his last year in lower school.
Of all of us, he had the most mixed emotions about heading back to school. While he dreaded the return to school work, it was more of the schedule change and missing his summer friends that had him conflicted.
Fortunately, as happens so often with our oldest child, he quickly transitioned. All it took was one day for him to be glad he was back in school. It didn’t hurt that he didn’t have homework the first couple nights, of course.
I am an emotional guy, especially when it comes to my children.
However, when it comes to my father, I’m not in touch with my emotions at all. I’m not proud to admit that.
My dad passed away last Saturday after being ill for the last couple years. He was 70 years old. His health had been on a steady decline for years because he didn’t take care of himself and had addiction demons he battled most of his life. It was a fight he lost most of the time because he never could admit he had problems with alcohol and drugs.
My dad always served as motivation for me to be a better father to my kids. My parents divorced when I was 2 years old so I don’t have any memories of them together. I was raised by my mom and stepfather. My dad was in and out of my life at various times but was never a steady influence. In all honesty, he was an example of what I didn’t want to become when I grew up and especially when I had a family. He loved me and my sister, but it was on a different, more shallow level, one that’s foreign to me.
I have a litany of faults as a father, but one thing I can guarantee my kids while I’m alive is my presence and interest. They can count on me to be there for them. I may not always handle parenting as well as I would like and hindsight oftentimes makes me feel foolish. However, my boys can rest assured their father feels a close relationship with his kids is a priority. I learned the importance of that because of what I didn’t have in my life with my dad.
My fondest memories with my dad involve watching his softball league games in Salisbury and playing catch in between innings. Unfortunately, these instances were few and far between and he couldn’t be relied upon.
Later in life he became a major burden because he couldn’t financially support himself. When he did have money or was “loaned” it from me, it was spent on fueling his addictions. It was a vicious cycle that played out for years. If there was one thing I could always count on, it was that he would make the wrong decisions. His addiction issues were always in play and out of control. In many ways, the parent-child roles were flipped as a result.
Therefore, his death to me marks a sad ending to a sad life. For some reason, I’ve not been in touch with my emotions ever since he passed. I’m hoping over time the resentment and ill feelings I had toward him will pass. I want to remember the good times and forget the bad stuff. Time usually takes care of that. I am hoping that’s the case.