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End of School Lesson

By May 20, 2024Pilates In Holland

OMG, May. Amirite?

People talk about how stressful the holiday season is with its busyness and expectations, but I think May might be even worse. Even though both of my kids are now in college, there’s still a lot going on, though it’s not like it used to be.

Every day on Facebook I see memories of the madness. Dutch dancing and parades, recitals, baseball, choir and band concerts, a May birthday, AP exams. Most of my old posts are upbeat and joyful, but one memory showed the aftermath of an incredibly busy Tulip Time week where my husband and I were volunteering almost daily at our church’s Dutch food market, my oldest was dancing several times a day, my youngest was marching in all the parades and my house was full of flotsam. Piles of laundry, dirty dishes piled high, junk food containers, and exhausted humans. It was one “real” post out of many “perfect life” posts, which is what social media is often about.

Take, for example, when Mandy, Terree, Debra, & I attended the Community Choice Awards gala. Didn’t we look stunning? The correct answer is, yes, yes we did.   But that wasn’t the whole story. 

  • One of us had scrambled all day to have someone to watch our dog, sick with bronchitis
  • One of us arrived with our dress unzipped because we couldn’t zip it and no one else was home to help
  • One of us was madly trying to remove concealer from her dress that splattered on 5 minutes before leaving
  • One of us was wearing bra pads under her armpits to hide the sweat stains

I’ll let you figure out who was who.

The point is what looked perfect and polished on social media was far from it. In fact, it was better. Yes, there was stress, but we were all laughing at ourselves and with each other about the ridiculousness of the whole thing.

But since my oldest is graduating from college this year (how?!?) I’m feeling nostalgic, remembering all the years, the joy and tears. And I wondered how much of the good that I posted was really absorbed by my kids, how much of the behind-the-scenes craziness, how many of the Beach Fridays, Critter Barn, and the hours in the back yard and snowmen in the front yard stuck with them in a way that adds up to a good childhood?

I got my answer when my youngest was home for five days between the end of year two and the beginning of an internship in St. Louis. We were sorting through all the stuff that came home from the dorm and as I combed through a folder I was told I could recycle, I struck gold.

During a first-year class for undecided students, the assignment was to write a poem about who you are and where you are from with the old prompt, “I am from…” Don’t get me wrong, it is no masterpiece of poetry, but the content almost made me cry. My kids did get it, they feel the love of place and home and family. All the craziness was real, but so were those social media moments. We don’t always get a gift like this as parents, so I’ll treasure it and share it with you all.

I am from hot summers
slip n slides on the grass
digging holes in the sand on the beach
and swimming to the second sand bar.
I am from cold winters
building snow forts and sledding
going to bed each night with a spoon under my pillow
hoping for a snow day.

I am from climbing trees
“just one branch higher”
testing the limits
wanting the view.
I am from turkeys and deer
eating our garden
a constant reminder that we are not alone.

I am from cicada filled nights
their high pitched drone constant.
I am from thunderstorms late at night
my dad waking me up
     letting me watch and listen
to show the beauty
     and not to be scared.

I am from Holland, Michigan.
I grew up there.
I became who I am there.
I love it there.


Author Renee

More posts by Renee

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Gigi says:

    What a beautiful poem, Renee. Thanks for sharing. Be proud of that boy and thanks for the reminder to all of us. Home is where the heart is!

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Pilates in Holland