by Stephanie Root
Mountain Home News
School is officially back in session here in Mountain Home. I am about to be the mother of a high school student-we decided to go ahead and have our daughter stay at the ranch with her papa this school year so she gets an extra week of summer vacation.
I always loved the start of a new school year growing up, especially the arrival and organization of my school supplies. I may have been a bit of a geek I guess, but there was nothing I loved more then meticulously arranging all my new paper, folders, pens and pencils. Truthfully as an adult I still love a trip to the office supply aisle and then carefully color coding my assortment of post it notes, pens and highlighters. I guess I might still be a bit of a geek. In all honesty I would have loved nothing more then to have been a "professional student." I often tell my husband how I cannot wait until we retire and I can go audit college courses for fun and for FREE.
Then there is the excitement of everything beginning a-new. All sports teams are undefeated, each child has a clean slate, children who participate in the arts are full of fresh ideas. Students and teachers are reenergized and ready to get their learning and creating juices flowing. It's like the rebirth of the land each spring.
As a stay-at-home mom I always had mixed emotions on the beginning of a new school year. I was excited to get a bit of a break during the day and to see what my children would accomplish each year, but in all actuality I would very quickly be missing my kids and looking forward to their next break from school. I also in a way just hate the idea of them growing up.
And really there is always the fear in the back of your mind that Mountain Home could become the next statistic with violence showing up on a school day. Luckily I think our school district implemented plans this summer that will go a long way in keeping our children safe and it helps keep those troubling thoughts a little further at bay. It might be a little frustrating at first to have to remember all of the new procedures. I almost guarantee I am going to have to turn around and go back to my car to pick up my identification at least once over the next couple of months, but our children's safety is worth it. If at the newspaper office we won't even accept a letter to the editor without seeing photo identification why is it so hard to believe someone should prove who they are before gaining access to a building full of children.
I am now ending my first summer as a full-time working parent and my feelings have definitely "evolved" on the matter of summer vacation. I now know how difficult summer can be with a young child who needs day time supervision. Arranging child care for a whole summer can be very difficult and expensive.
We are some of the lucky parents who live close to family who can help take care of our children and lessen the hit to our checking account. My husband and I settled down in the same neighborhood that his parents and my grandparents live in. On most days this summer you could find my son at the track first thing in the morning working out with the big kids and his grandpa- better known in these parts as Coach Root-and his afternoons swimming at the city pool or visiting the library with his grandma or "grandma great" as he calls my grandma or having a nerf gun war with his "Bubs"( my grandpa). Everyone needs a vacation sometime though and both sets of grandparents have earned the right to a fun and adventure filled retirement so there were weeks where we scrambled to find a sitter.
Fortunately the Mountain Home Parks and Recreation Department has an awesome Adventure Camp where they literally spend the summer truly adventuring throughout the Magic and Treasure Valleys. They learn things, interact with peers and have a great time in a very controlled setting. My son had a blast each and every week he was enrolled in the program. We also have a few friends with older kids we could trust to watch him if camp was filled for the week before we got him signed up.
I really don't know how people who live far away from family and close friends do it. Especially all of you single parents or those who have spouses who are deployed. With the cost of child care these days it could end up costing one of the parent's whole paycheck. And really that was one of the reasons I stayed home until my youngest went to school for a full day. It just made more sense economically for me to be there with them then give almost everything I would make at a job to someone else to spend my kids young years with them.
But with all of that being said my feelings about summer break being over are still very mixed. These past few months have flown by for me in a whirlwind of activity. As the school year ended I had just accepted the editor position here at the newspaper and things were coming at me hard and fast while I tried to figure out what the heck I was doing. It was sink or swim and by the time I finally looked around and was treading water it was time to send our children back to school. There were so many things I wanted to do during the kids' break that just never happened. Don't get me wrong we did a lot of fun things-most of them did have a work involved element to be sure though- but other things just never happened. We went to pretty much every single festivity or activity that occurred around here this summer: Movies in the Park, the Summer Concert Series, the Community Canvas Reveal Party, the Basque Picnic and the fair, but we never made it up to the hills for a camping trip one single time. Luckily both of my children have gone camping a few times with their grandparents, but as a family who usually spends a large amount of time playing in our great outdoors we did not manage to do much other then a few spur of the moment afternoon swimming trips to Anderson. And those only happened because the heat got so unbearable I said screw cleaning, laundry or other responsibilities and we loaded up the car and left.
I guess I'll just take solace in the fact that soon the temperatures will start dipping, burn bans and fire restrictions will be lifted and we can take a weekend at some point to travel to one of our favorite little secluded camping spots. It is close enough to make a really short trip worth it, but is much too low in elevation to visit when the temperatures get too high so spring and fall trips are for the best anyways. Then there is the start of football to look forward to, crisp autumn mornings, oven cooked comfort foods, watching my son play fall league baseball and hearing about my daughter's new adventures making friends in a different school district.
I wish all of our students, parents, teachers, coaches and administrators a successful, exciting and fulfilling school year. Good luck in your educational and extracurricular endeavors. And to my two children could you just slow down on your growing up for a minute; mom would really appreciate it.