Tag Archives: first day of school

The Downside of Not Being Anonymous at ODNT

Sometimes I regret going public with my blog. There are so many anonymous writers out there. I’m very jealous of these people.

  • They can write whatever they want about themselves … with no fear of being ambushed by a group of well-meaning do-gooders and dragged off to the nearest mental institution.
  • They can write whatever they want about their kids … with no fear that it will get one of them wedgied, pantsed or bullied-using-their-own-clothing-against-them-in-some-other-way on the schoolyard.
  • They can write whatever they want about the people in their lives … with no fear of cold shoulders, stares, glares, resentment, hate mail or flaming bags of poop left on their doorsteps.

They can just … write. Without judgment or concern of any kind. I think that’s pretty cool. And extremely cathartic.

In MY world, every word and every picture in every post I write is given careful consideration before I hit publish. “Would that description piss her off?,” “Is there any chance I’m going to get that guy fired if I let this go public?” and most of all “Are people going to think I’m nuts if I admit the full truth here?”

Probably. To all of it. So I edit … and I abridge … and I massage … until, in the end, I am still left with the truth, but it’s a polished truth. It’s the one I’m prepared for you to see when you look at me. Think of it as Picture Day at school. The end result really is a picture of your child, but his hair is actually clean. And brushed. And he’s wearing the one shirt that doesn’t have a big stain on the collar. Plus you paid extra for the photographer to airbrush out the scab on his chin.

Why am I blathering on like this?

Well, for starters, it’s what I do best. I figure if I talk long enough, I’m eventually bound to say something brilliant, meaningful or at least that you’re willing to listen to until I pause to take a breath. Secondly, I guess it’s just because I’m a little blue. Because my girl started back to school today. It’s her last first day at the little elementary school we settled into after Hurricane Katrina. My son’s already moved on to a new school. She’ll be starting a new one for 8th grade next year. (Remember, New Orleans high schools are weird.)

And … because I’m me … my mind can’t help but wander to a few years down the road when they’ll both be gone for college. I know, I know. It’s still years away. But wow. I don’t know how anybody does it. Maybe I’ll figure that out in the future. But I doubt it.

Until then, I’m just going to pretend I’m not really thinking about it when we’re talking about something else completely unrelated so you don’t think I’m too crazy, alright? Even though a portion of my consciousness will secretly be consumed with it every day until it happens. Then, when I smile and say, “Pleeeeease. I’m fine. Let’s go grab some lunch,” you just pretend to believe me.


Because since I’m standing in the middle of the room wearing a big, stupid name tag that says “Michele Robert Poche,” that’s about as much as I’m willing to let loose right now.


Have a great first day of school, Viv. I’ve enjoyed every single one of themNow … um … let’s go grab some lunch.

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Ketchup With Us #24

If at first you don’t succeed … try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it. – W.C. Fields

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It’s Back to School season so we’re talking about first days today. All kinds. For everything we do, there’s always a first day. And we want to hear about one of yours. It can be anything you want … from first day at band camp to first day as a licensed phlebotomist to first day on a grapefruit diet. And Hey! As a special testament to firsts, why don’t you see if you can recruit just one linker who will be playing Ketchup for the first time?

(Oh, and for the first time, I will be ignoring our 57 words or less suggestion. My boy deserves more.)


Kindergarten. It’s a hard enough transition for a little person. And Dean had to do it twice. On August 18, 2005, he walked into his first real classroom to meet his friendly teacher, Paula Naquin. He attended school there for only 7 days. Then, on September 6, 2005, he had to do it all over again at another school, 80 miles away from the original one and not knowing a single soul. Thanks to that storm we’re all so tired of talking about here in New Orleans.

I’m still so proud of his courage. I was an emotional mess. Until his new teacher walked up, all warm and fuzzy, to welcome her new student who had just floated in from New Orleans. “Hi, Dean,” she said, literally outstretching her arms to him. “My name is Paula Naquin.” My teary eyes bulged out of their sockets and my mouth fell open when I heard her words. His new teacher had the exact same name as his original one??? I took that as a sign from the universe that everything was going to be just fine.

And now, as I sit and reflect upon these significant first days in his life, I hope for him the same courage and strength that he managed so beautifully at age 5. For today is yet another first day for him. Today, he starts high school, a whole new chapter in his life. And again, I know everything is going to be just fine. But, just as I was in his new classroom in 2005, I am an emotional mess all over again.

Perhaps I should check his high school faculty roster for a P. Naquin.


Good luck, Dean.

I know you’re going to knock it out of the park, my boy.

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For a QUICK EXPLANATION of this link-up, click here. In short, Mel and I will post a picture or video with a prompt on the 1st and 15th of every month. And, with each prompt, we’ll feature a linker from the previous KWU. Which reminds me …

Our esteemed Ketchup With Us Featured Writer for today is …

My Skewed View by Jen Kehl


The rules are … THERE ARE NO RULES! Just guidelines. And we’d be truly honored if you posted our button on your page and followed us on Facebook (Michele /Mel) and Twitter (Michele/Mel).



‘KETCHUP WITH US’ – Prompt 24

In 57 words or less, tell us about a significant first day in your life … of school, work, parenthood, rehab, veganism, prison, whatever you want.



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.

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

















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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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