My girl started school yesterday …

“There’s a hundred and four days of summer vacation and school comes around just to end it.”

Check your facts, Phineas. Or Ferb. Or whoever’s responsible for this erroneous little jingle. It seems like summer is getting shorter and shorter each year. I think that’s in part because it actually is. Unfortunately, it’s also because each summer is, mathematically speaking, becoming a smaller fraction of my children’s lives. When I think back on our past first-days-of-school, it blows my mind how many are now merely part of my family photo album. How can that be? How can the time be passing so quickly??? AND WOULD SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL ME HOW I’M GOING TO HANDLE MY BABIES GOING OFF TO COLLEGE?!!?

Mothers are some of the bravest creatures I know. Not because we learn to annihilate giant wasp nests that attach themselves to the family swing set or single-handedly take on Cujo-like dogs at the park when we see them eyeing our child deliciously (both true stories), but because we stare our biggest fear in the face every single day. We care for our little people from the moment we meet them, straddling the fence between helping them and nurturing their independence. We want them beside us where we know we can keep them safe and witness every milestone, yet we force ourselves to give them little nudges and loosen our grips so they can explore and learn a bit on their own. We remind ourselves it’s for their own good as well as our own. And, before we know it, we find that they’re venturing far enough to be sometimes entirely out of view which, although excruciating, we know is necessary for their development. And we tell ourselves, somewhat mechanically, that everything will be just fine.

And it usually is.

But somewhere between releasing their chubby hands to let them “Do it by mySELF!” and shopping for cell phones so we can maintain some form of connection with them, we look up and realize that our children have really grown up on us. Thankfully, they do still need us. (For the record, I will never stop needing my own parents.) But it’s different. And we, as mothers, have no choice but to accept this change as a “normal” and “healthy” part of life.

If any of you figure out how to do that, please enlighten me. Until then, I’ll be in the back of my closet.

* * * * * * * * * *

My girl’s first days …. all the way back to preschool

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2013

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2012

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2011

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2010

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2009

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2008

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2007

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2006

* * * * * * * * * *

This post was created in response to Mamakat’s weekly writing prompt asking us to write something inspired by the word brave. I also submitted it in response to her writing prompt asking us to tell about a first day of school.

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28 responses to “My girl started school yesterday …

  1. look at those smiles, years and years of smile. She is beautiful and brave.
    I stll can’t believe that my sons are not only 5 but are starting kindergarten, it doesn’t seem possible, but those years have flown by.

    here’s to a very happy school year for all our children.

  2. What a great post Michele. I won’t tell you it gets easier…..ever.
    Great idea with annual 1st day pics.
    Love it!

  3. I can’t even begin to think of sending my kids off to college. I couldn’t even send my first to preschool without crying and it was just two days a week. For 2.5 hours. I’m pathetic. I can keep my second out of school right? That’s a completely normal thing to do right? RIGHT?! Sigh. I’ll be in the back of my own closet if you need me.

    • Homeschool. I’ve threatened it for years. Then, after the kids and I have a good, riotous laugh, we’re all ready to go back to school again. Me a teacher? That’s a good one.

  4. Stephanie @smtimmons

    Oh Michele, she is so beautiful! And smart! Just like her Mama. 🙂 You’ve been getting me misty eyed lately with your posts. And you hit the nail right on the head about that fine line between protecting and teaching. It’s all a big balancing act!

  5. Ok, even I was affected by that set of photographs.

    But her smile is a sign of mothering done well.

  6. They do grow up way too fast…

  7. You just made me cry. Quite the girl you have there with her infectious smile. While you’re in the back of the closet, please straighten up your shoes.

  8. “And we tell ourselves, somewhat mechanically, that everything will be just fine.” Every. Single. Day. I hyperventilate thinking about Mags getting on that bus in 2 weeks. I’ll be the mom following the bus. Again.

    Beautifully done. You ARE so brave. Thanks for leading the way. 🙂 xo

  9. We should start a “back of the closet” club.

  10. Your kids start back early. My Ryan starts back on September 3rd. She looks like she is glad to be back though, a lovely girl. I sometimes wish I had a daughter. 😀

  11. And – as part of the circle of life – moms who are super close to their own kids experience these emotions all over again with the grandkids.

  12. What wonderful pictures! It was fun to see how she grew up each year.

  13. What a pretty girl. So cool that you have these pictures. I have a nine-year-old girl that is also growing way too fast. I don’t know where the time went, but I sure as hell haven’t been sleeping. Yeah, I’ll be in the back of my closet, too. Ugh. I like the idea of a club like Michelle suggested. The BOTC Club. Haha.

  14. In four days, my son is leaving for college and my daughter is starting high school. Same.Day.There is going to be some chocolate consumed that day!

    I felt like the bravest mom EVAH this morning when I went a full ten rounds with a giant brown recluse spider. Guess you can tell which one of us won….

    p.s. Your daughter looks so bright and sunny in all those first day pics, and she ROCKS the school uniform!

    • I SO wish we lived in the same place. I don’t even know you and I would buy you the biggest piece of chocolate we could find to share in the closet with me.

      I’m very proud of you. My boy starts high school this week. And I’m sick about it. SICK. I can’t imagine adding college to the equation.

      Hugs. 😦

  15. Oh my gosh, so adorable! SO ADORABLE! 🙂
    Good luck, mama!

  16. I am tearing up because this will be next week when Hayley starts school! She is so wicked cute!!!!

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  18. I love those pictures. I have them of my boys but they are scattered. I really need to get them together like you did. Great memories.

    http://frogslop.com/2013/09/mama-kats-workshop-you-know-youre-getting-old-because/

  19. She is gorgeous!
    You captured the paradox of mothering to the letter. Love them and long to have them close while parenting in ways to help them not need you. Sigh.

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