Sending my kids back to school is bittersweet

At the end of next week, my kids head back to school. I’m not ready for it. I never am.

This year I have a 1st and 4th grader, which seems impossible since they were just born a few months ago. But alas, here we are.

The joys of summer

I really do enjoy having them home for the summer. Yes, there are times that they bicker and it drives me nutty. And other times I long to eat my lunch and read my book in peace for 10 minutes.

But there are also extra snuggle times and belly laughs as they play. There are smiles as they show me what they learned in swimming lessons.

The truth is, I had babies because I wanted them. God blessed me with these two precious lives and has entrusted me to care for them. My children aren’t a burden or annoyance; they are my greatest masterpiece. And I will miss them when school starts.

The good parts of the school year

I will also be glad to get back to a schedule and routine a bit because that’s how my personality is. I know it will be easier to get work done once they aren’t interrupting me. But I still will miss them.

However, another big part of parenthood is putting your children’s needs before your own. In my head, I’d love to just have them home all the time and hang out — and not in a homeschool kind of way. More in a summer-break-we-aren’t-doing-much-productive-many-days kind of way.

That wouldn’t be best for them, though. They are so smart and know so much, yet, they have so very much left to learn. I don’t want to rob them of that.

They love being together and with my husband and me, but they also love being with their friends. They are learning how to navigate friendships, which is important. I don’t want to rob them of that either.

I know I can love on them and pour into them completely, but I also know they are at an awesome school full of adults trained to pour into them in ways I can’t. I don’t want to rob them of that chance to have role models and be challenged by adults other than my husband and me.

How I handle the first day

So that’s why the end of next week, I will put on my excited face, take photos and walk them into school with a grin. I want to give them the world. I want them to learn and grow and continue to make the world a better place in bigger and bigger ways.

I will pray for a sunny day so my sunglasses can hide my watery eyes. I will wave and give hugs and wish them the very best of days. And I will mean every part of it, even as I continue to let them go more and more each year.

They are my heart. They are my babies. And I will miss them when they head back to school, but I also know that’s what is best for them. What’s best for them is what I want most.

Covering them in prayer

I also know I am not leaving them alone. I will cover them in prayer for the new school year. I pray they make and grow friends who are both good to the and good for them. I pray they learn and grow. I pray that they are surrounded by adults who care about them. I pray they are able to navigate friendship issues and handle any stress that comes their way.

I pray that they remember they are never alone and God is always with them. I pray that they proceed with the confidence that comes from being loved so completely by their parents and by God. I pray that they are kind to those around them. I pray that they make good choices and stand up for what they know to be right, even if it isn’t popular.

And, of course, I always pray that God protects them physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually everywhere they are.

It’s easier to send them off when I know they aren’t going alone. It’s easier when I know they are covered in prayer. I will still miss them. But I know back to school is good for them.

I am so proud of the people they are continuing to grow into. Sending them back to school is bittersweet like so many things in parenthood. I will miss them and am overwhelmed by how much they are growing up, but I also can’t wait to see what the year has in store, what they’ll learn and more of who they are outside of being my babies.

About the Author: Stacey A. Shannon

Stacey A. Shannon is a freelance journalist and blogger who has been published internationally. She's also a Christian, a wife and a mom of two school-aged children. She started Families with Grace in 2019 to encourage Christian moms as they create homes filled with grace, love and faith.

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