I love summer break. I love the relaxed bedtimes and lack of homework. I love the lazy mornings and ice cream for dinner in the middle of the week. I love that my kids can have a “Sandlot summer,” biking around with their friends, playing baseball and going to the public pool. I love the family road trips and long afternoons at the lake. I absolutely love summer. And you know what I love just as much as summer break? The end of summer break when kids go back to school.

By early August, I start counting down the day until my kids will don their backpacks, pack a lunch, and be out of the house for a blessedly sweet eight hours. 

Related: 13 routines & activities to prep kids for back-to-school 

There are few times of the year as sweet as back-to-school season.

Why do I love back to school season so much? Let me count the ways…

1. Back to school season brings a return to some semblance of normalcy

Let’s be honest, by the time 4th of July is over, I’m exhausted and hoarse from reminding my kids to close the screen door, the children are starting to turn feral, and we all have a stomachache from too much ice cream. Regular bedtimes and some kind of routine starts to look like a vacation. 

2. Back to school season is a fresh start—not just for kids, but for parents too

There is something about a fresh pack of pens and a new notebook that screams hopeful possibility. Maybe this will be the year we run a 10K. Maybe this will be the year we earn a promotion. Maybe this will be the year we finish painting the basement rec room. Anything is possible. 

3. Back to school season means we haven’t yet become bored with the monotony of the day-to-day routine

My kids (and I) haven’t yet become stressed out by homework and projects. We haven’t become overwhelmed by all the after-school activities we try to cram into the few hours we have between school and dinner.

4. Going back to school means reconnecting with teachers who truly care about our kids

All teachers are heroes, and I will sing their praises until the end of time. And there are some teachers who hold a special place in our hearts for the way they care about our kids. For the way they see our children for who they are and work to bring out the best in them. Back-to-school seasons means reconnecting with these amazing teachers and meeting new teachers who we hope will do the same. 

5. Going back to school means old friends and new friends

Back-to-school also means seeing our kids connect with friends they may not have seen much over the summer. It also means making friends with new classmates. 

6. The new school year means we parents can exhale a bit

We can settle into the sweetness of normalcy that often gets overlooked when we’re consumed by the grind. It might be the briefest moment time, because come late-September, we’re burned out by PTA meetings, curriculum night and filling out approximately eight thousand forms. Pretty soon it’s Halloween parties and parent-teacher conferences and then the holidays. Enjoy the brief moment of calm while it lasts, friends.

Related: These sustainable kids clothes are perfect for back to school

7. A new school year is a stark reminder that our kids are growing up too fast

There is a bittersweetness to back-to-school season too. The speed with which their childhoods are speeding by is enough to take your breath away sometimes. So we try to freeze time with chalkboard signs and first day of school photos. But there is nothing like a first day of school photo to give you a gut-punch reminder that our little ones are growing up. So we soak it up and hug them tight before saying our goodbyes as they head off through the school building doors. We might go home and have a good cry. Or maybe we meet a friend for breakfast. And we steady ourselves for the school year ahead, filling ourselves up with optimism and good intentions to make every moment count.