Back to School and Growing Up

Abi at Kindergarten Open House 2013

First Day of Kindergarten and First Grade 2014

Today was back to school open house for my girls. They got to see their classrooms and meet their teachers for the first time. Josh and I got to fill out paper work and stand in lines to figure out bus schedules and when and where to get finger printed. (Two years in and I still haven't done this. Bad mom, I know.)

Abi is thrilled and cannot wait while Maddie is in denial and walks around dejectedly stating loudly that she doesn't WANT to go back to school.
And I am in the middle.

I am ready for summer to be over. I am ready for routines and set bed times and wake up times. I am ready to know what we are doing every day, rather than trying to concoct a plan exciting enough to entertain a 6 year old at the drop of a hat. Selfishly I am even looking to have some down time with Josh on his days off and going back to our favorite walking path as soon as the weather cools off a bit.

I am not ready for them to be in first and second grade. Always before starting a new grade, it has seemed like an exciting mile stone to celebrate, but this year I am dragging my feet a bit. It's a little more bitter sweet. They are growing up in front of me and I am thrilled with the exciting things they will get to do and learn this year, and terrified of the challenges we will face.

The past two years, my mother, sister, or both have been present with us over the weekend. While I knew it was impractical to think this would go on forever, my heart aches and I find myself wishing for them. I'm not ready to do this on my own yet! And yet it is time.

The first year my mom and sister were here to help me after I had just had my third baby by c-section. School supply shopping, large crowds, and even fixing lunches was a challenge and I was beyond thankful for their ability to expertly hold everything together so I could be there for my terrified kindergartener.

Last year we found ourselves once again in the middle a massive transition at the start of school. My brother and his family had found their own home after living with us for 18 months and we were doing home renovations. We had another one entering kindergarten and public school for the first time, and to top if all off underwent a pretty intense tooth extraction the day before open house. I remember my one year old grabbing my cup of fresh brewed tea and dumping it all over her and I just about thirty minutes before my parents arrived that weekend. I was at a point of shear exhaustion and my parents found me on the sofa tears rolling down my face holding ice packs on the baby and I.

And then there is this year. My sister is busy with her own back to school things as she prepares for another year of teaching first graders and my parents are getting ready to have one of my nephews come visit for a week before he starts 6th grade. While I might miss them all desperately, this year I realize we don't NEED them like we did in years past.

As my children grow and I adjust to this season my confidence grows-as does my ability to navigate this whole school experience. My children are growing and so am I  and we all find a new level of independence.

I take a step back and look at all of us; my mother, my sister, myself, and my three daughters. The two that have gone ahead of me, the three following behind, and me, in the middle.
And I know that another step back would reminder me that we are a links in a chain extending past and future.
 But today, it's those three links I see.
 So I take a deep breath, brush tears from my cheeks and say a prayer of gratitude for my mother and sister, a prayer of protection on my daughters, and a prayer of grace for myself

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