The home stretch is a term that is used in racing, most commonly one that involves a track. The competitors, whether they are in a car, or on a horse, or on their own two feet have gone around the track and have the finish line in sight. Everything they have been working on and training for comes down to one final push to cross the finish line. The fans who are watching the race become louder in the home stretch. Their excitement is at its peak and they watch the finish in eager anticipation.
This time of year feels a bit like being in the home stretch. Once spring break is over, the finish line is in sight for the school year. There will be one last surge of homework, projects and tests. There will be end of the year concerts, field trips, award ceremonies, dances and activities. There will also be that feeling of “didn’t this year go by so fast”. You can multiply that feeling by 100 if your child is finishing a year that marks a transition to kinder, junior high, high school or college.
We are one of those going through a transition year, from elementary school to junior high. My daughter has been excited all year about the new adventure of junior high that looms on the horizon, however the other day I heard a twinge of sadness in her voice. She’s no longer in a hurry for the end of the year. She’s realizing the bitter sweetness that comes with it all – that a new adventure often means leaving somethings behind.
And what about us as parents? It’s easy to feel like all of a sudden years of your life have flown by without you fully appreciating them. How did this happen? Where did all the time go? The homework meltdowns, the endless projects, the last minute runs to the store to pick up the missing materials conveniently disappear from memory. The countless lunches made, the mornings that were such a struggle and the nights that never seemed long enough to squeeze everything in are a distant memory. So many weeks spent just hoping to make it to Friday, not realizing that meant that four other days had flown by. During these times, it’s easy for us to think we should have done more to appreciate the time before it passed. There’s a little of that parental guilt that starts to set in – how could we have let the time pass us by? Why are my kids growing up so fast? Shouldn’t I be doing more to make better memories with them? I’m sure you have a few others that you can add to the list. Author Glennon Doyle Melton wrote a blog a couple years ago called “Don’t Carpe Diem”. She is a fantastic writer and adds a funny, but poignant, spin to the idea that parents need to enjoy every moment of our child’s lives. To overly summarize she says as a parent it’s too hard to appreciate the entire day, we are better off finding small moments to mark in our memory. She goes on to say that it doesn’t even matter if you can exactly remember those small moments, just knowing that you had them is enough.
Enjoy the home stretch.
Journal on this: Spend time writing down those memories that make you smile. You think they are things you will never forget, but you’ll be happy that you wrote them down just in case.
P.S. Feeling overwhelmed with the home stretch of the school year? Message me or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s schedule a time to get started.
I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.