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Empty Lunch Boxes

00305816 Tomorrow is the last day of school for my older two; technically, it's their last three hours or so of school since they'll only be there for a half-day.

Tonight, after getting everyone to bed, I came downstairs and started my usual get-ready-get-set-go! routine for the next morning.

Coffee maker?


Cereal and bowls? 


Lunches packed?


After months of packing two lunches every night, I looked at their lunch boxes and sighed with a mixture of relief (yay! one less thing to do!) and sadness.

Another school year is over - where did the time go?

It amazes me how slippery time becomes when you are a parent.  When my oldest two were tiny together (they're less than 2 years apart), there were many, many days that dragged on, days where the hands of the clock seemed to be stuck at 2:25 pm, days when dinner (and the prospect of adult conversation with the arrival of my hubs after his work day was done) felt like it was weeks - not just a few short hours - away.

Even when those long days finally came to a close, when the crying and the tantrums and the timeouts ceased as they both finally fell asleep, night brought me little relief from the stretching of time.  Alternating between nightly feedings for the baby (peaceful) and the night terrors of the toddler (terrifying), I stumbled up and down from my bed again...and again...and again.  The nights were just as long and exhausting as the days.

But now?

Time flies.

My oldest two are now almost nine and seven; their younger brother is four.  Our days are packed; school, sports, scouts, doctor and dentist appointments, play dates, and homework.  Occasionally, I have a few spare moments at home, moments when I multi-task like a woman possessed: laundry, cooking, bills, canine-wrangling, writing.

There are never enough hours in the day for everything on my list; before I know it, it's late at night and I am yawning, trying to finish just one last thing before turning in for a few hours of shuteye (like just about every mom out there, right?).

So while I am a bit sad at how quickly this school year has passed, there is a big part of me that is happy to pack those lunch boxes away for the next few months.

I can't stop time; I can't stop my children from growing up (and I wouldn't want to even if I could).

But I can do this:

I can slow down, deliberately, and enjoy the blessing of the coming summer days with them.

When she's not chasing fireflies and doling out popsicles, Marianne shares money saving tips and her love of Krogering at The New Frugal Mom and her thoughts about life and writing and Writer-Mommy