First days of school: Exciting, emotional and Pinteresting

First days of school sometimes blend into normal life with year-round school.  Track-on, track-off, track-on, track-off... oh, wait! It's a new grade?  Ho hum. Maybe time for a new backpack then? But in this day and age of Pinterest, how can a mom sleep at night with that kind of parental neglect? If I don't have an XL Tshirt printed that says "CLASS OF...." whatever year they're going to graduate to take their picture in every year on the first day, or cute backdrops decorated with their grade in patterns coordinated to their outfits they certainly won't end up with a proper education.  Right?  Not to knock cute traditions - I love seeing what creative minds come up with - but I pick my poison when it comes to where I have energy to put my efforts.

This year I saw this adorable idea on Pinterest.  Go ahead and start laughing now.

SUPER! I grabbed the smarties at the store and then totally forgot... until about ten minutes before we had to leave for school on the first day.  Happily, I had some cute, shiny scrapbook card thingies that were adorable and perfect and I hurriedly scrawled a loving message on each one with a felt-tipped pen.  When I went to tape the Smarties to the card -- SMEAR!  Ink everywhere.  All over my hands, the cards, the smarties.  Fail.  Kids getting curious. Trying to be sneaky and hide what I was doing while also racing the clock, and working on the principal that if the ink smears with dry rubbing, wet rubbing will be like a white-board, I wet a paper towel and wiped as much of the ink off as I could, then grabbed a sharpie marker and tried to trace over the letters, to varied legible success :(
My first day of school Pinterest FAIL!
The pic doesn't show the cute border, but there was one! Really. I did at least do that. Still.  Not pin able.  But that wasn't the point, was it?  (chant that mantra - chant that mantra) The kids still loved it and I learned that I've relaxed a whole lot from my extreme perfectionist days when I would have thrown them away and not sent them at all rather than send such flawed attempts. But I think it's a perfect illustration of what it's like to be a mom in general; we do the best we can and - though it may be, and often is, messy and imperfect - it's full of love and perseverance.
First Day for 6th, 5th & 3rd grades - last week

And this year is THE BIG YEAR for me.  My baby started kindergarten today.  I know it's only half day, so it's not a huge lifestyle adjustment.  But it's the milestone and what it represents that moves me to tears.  It means no more toddlers.  I'm now the mom of big kids.  Babies change overnight into kids once they start school. I've watched it with all my kids, but I've always had a baby to go home and cuddle.  My kids are hilarious about it.  They keep asking me if I'll be bored.  What I'll do while she's at school.  If I'll spend the whole time watching TV.  LOL!!

I have to say I handled the day quite well.  Evey was SO excited!  She picked out a first day of school outfit herself when we went shopping a few days ago, and she also chose some new fingernail polish.  Yesterday we had a mini-spa day.  I trimmed her hair and bangs, she took a bubble bath, and we did a mani-pedi.  Then she insisted I paint my nails the same as hers.  She said that since it's both of our favorite color, we would both have it to "remember" each other by when she was at school.  Whenever she felt nervous
Matching nails so we wouldn't "forget each other" :)

or scared she'd look at her nails and think of me, knowing I had my nails the same.  And what I thought was super cute was that she added that I could look at my nails and not miss her too much because I'd remember to come get her. (Why do they always think we'll forget?  So funny!)

At the school this morning, she was mostly proud her Dad had come.  It was super special to her.  I was kind of just the paparazzi.
  She said that she was more excited than nervous, but she couldn't stop twirling her pigtails, so I think there were some nerves involved.  She didn't tell us to leave, but she didn't cling - just took it all in stride.  And I kept it together, clear until I was alone in the car.  Bawled for a bit, mourning a beautiful phase in my life that I have loved with all my heart.  Then squared my shoulders and reminded myself that at every stage in motherhood I've said to Tysen, "if I could freeze it right here I'd be happy.  I don't want them to get any older or anything to change.  This is just perfect." And then a year later I find myself saying exactly the same thing, having discovered new magic and different joys. There is a bedtime song that is a favorite of my kids, and I found myself singing it in my head after dropping Evey off today.  It's called Evermore, and it's by one of my favorite children's lit authors, Sandra Boynton.

Evermore I will love you, evermore I will stay
Ever right here to hold you, never so far away.
And though I know sometimes you go to find your way alone,
Evermore I will love you. You are ever my own.

It didn't hurt that some fabulously perceptive friends took me and another mom in the same state as myself out to breakfast to sympathize, buoy up and cajole us out of our mope!  Thanks forever to this great first day of Kindergarten support group!!  Love you ladies!!

And this afternoon just happened to be the craziest therapy ever - as Tysen asked me to come help with a station event at one of those super fast go-cart tracks.  I've never driven one before, and as soon as I got over the claustrophobia of the helmet, I turned on some serious speed!  I think I may be addicted.  It blew away my entire roller-coaster of emotions in a rush of endorphins, and completely wiped out every speck of "I'm getting old" tendencies I had been wallowing in.  I may have a teenager now, and my baby may be a big school kid, but I'm still young enough to race go-carts with a rock band :)  What a strange life.
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