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By Melissa Ford
Last summer, for two solid weeks before my daughter left for college, she sang that crazy ‘80s song, The Final Countdown, by Swedish rock band, Europe. Even though I can’t stand her taste in music, I thoroughly enjoyed her enthusiasm as she pranced around the house, packing and singing! But after a few days of being acoustically battered, teetering on the edge of hysteria, I finally broke down, whining “Why. . . do you. . . keep singing THAT. . . song?”
Secretly hoping she’d get the message and stop, my inquiry was met with laughter (her usual response when I’m desperate). “It’s the final countdown, Mom! These few weeks before school starts and even the first week back deserve some fanfare,” she cheerfully explained. With that said, she picked up singing where she had left off.
In the weeks that followed her departure, I’d catch myself humming or singing “It’s the final countdown!” whether walking the dog, taking a shower, blogging or fixing dinner. I couldn’t get that darn song out of my head! But her explanation made sense.
There is a buildup, an intensification, a final countdown towards a major transitionary time in our lives, for both kids and parents alike, that needs to be acknowledged; we're going back to school!
So in honor of all our children, whether they are happily anticipating change or not, and in memory of all those back-to-school times, I’d like to officially declare this transitionary period of time: The Final Countdown! (TFC)
Filled with high expectations and fresh possibilities, TFC is a hopeful time and thrilling as well. Excitement mixed with a dash of fear - you never know how your child will handle the change.
Will s/he be enthused about school? Or apathetic? Will the first day be filled with new friends and happiness? Or complaints about the teacher or other kids in the classroom?
Or will you get that dreaded call from the school?
One thing I’ve learned about TFC, it never ceases to disappoint whether your child is headed into kindergarten or back to college.
Here are a few of our family’s awesome, past remembrances of TFC:
- Coming home for lunch on the first full day of first grade, my son greeted me at the front door with a scowl on his face and arms tightly crossed, declaring “I’m never returning to school and you can’t make me go back!” I had 45 minutes to change his mind. (I love that kid; he’s always been a force to be reckoned with!)
- A call from the school nurse, informing me that my 4th grader was in her office “not feeling well.” She chuckled over the phone, warmly sharing, “No need to worry; he isn’t a frequent flyer yet.” Confused by the comment, I repeated, “Frequent flyer?” She explained “You know the kids that like the nurse’s office better than learning.”
- My daughter’s sweet, bright face as she rushed home happily to inform us that her "bestest friend in the whole widest world” was in her class.
- My son proudly wearing his football jersey to school, but downplaying it the entire time.
- And, just a few days ago, my daughter contacting me from college saying that the teachers were on strike and school wasn’t starting. Good news - I haven’t paid her tuition yet.
No matter the ups and downs, we can enjoy the thrill of transition!! Somehow we always manage to work through it and in the process, create some heart-filled memories we can treasure in the years to come!
Remember, It's the Final Countdown! What are some of your favorite memories?