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It’s The End of the School Year. This Is Why Parents Get Last Day Blues

I watched my youngest son get out of the car this morning with some pep in his step. For him, the end of the school year is exciting: It’s almost over! Summer is almost here! Freedom!

For me, I always feel a bit of melancholy. Or a lot. Sure, I’m excited to slow down, give our busy schedules a break, and spend endless hours at the beach, but as I watch him walk up to school, wearing pants that are about five inches too short (the same pants that were dragging on the ground at the beginning of school), it’s a reminder of the days of yesteryear.

I feel like it was five seconds ago when my oldest entered kindergarten, and we were attending our first Harvest Dinner. I remember wanting to grab that moment in time and hang on for dear life.

Then, I looked down at the baby (the one who is wearing the short pants and is entering middle school next year) on my lap and thought, “Oh, we will have so many more of these to attend.”

And here we are, almost a decade later, and all of my kids have flown through elementary school — I can barely handle all the feelings I have about it.

The first day of school nine months ago was a mere flash. How did we already get through Halloween, the holidays, report cards, concerts, and spring vacation?

Parenthood feels as if one minute you are picking apples with your kids, dragging them through the orchard and bribing them with donuts just to commemorate the moment with a picture, and the next, the same trees are blooming and the school year is over.

There is a bunch of stuff that happens in between which makes the days seem to blend together, and by the time you come up for air, you are wondering where those apples went.

The end of the school year is like having someone hold up a sign in your face reminding you that you are older, and your kids are bigger.

You can’t help but wonder if you fit everything into those 180 days that you hoped to do.

Because whether you like it or not, you know summer will come and go so fast you won’t know what hit you. You will be gearing up for another school year, which means your kids are that much closer to growing up and leaving the nest.

Please pass the tissues; I’m tired of all these reminders.

I always get the same feeling on the last day of school that I do on the first: there’s a lump in my throat, I’m emotional, and when a picture shows up on my Facebook feed from the year before, forget it. I’m a mess through and through.

I’ve always wondered if this is a thing for other parents—is it as difficult for them to see how much their child has changed and grown with each passing school year as it is for me? Does it make them realize just how fast time goes? Do they want to go home and cry over baby pictures like I do? Or is it just me?

Every time something ends, I find it sad, even if it is only the school year.

Not so for my kids, of course—they are loving life right about now as they count down the days until they can sleep all morning and live in their bathing suits and have the occasional (okay, weekly) ice cream cone for dinner.

While I love those days, too, I’m allowed to be sad another school year has passed. And right now, I don’t feel like getting excited.

But I will take that ice cream cone, in the hope it will make the fact my kids are going to be leaving me all too soon just a little bit easier.

Katie Bingham-Smith

Katie Bingham-Smith had three kids in three years and crafts herself silly in order to stay sane. She loves to write, wear faux leather pants, eat at burger joints, and make beautiful things. You can see more on her blog www.philigry.comFacebook and Instagram.