back to school

is there a happier day for parents the world over than the first day of school? don’t get me wrong…i love summer and having the kids home, lazy days filled with swimming pools and popsicles that morph into late nights. the first few weeks of summer are their own special brand of magic. but that magic fades, and what’s left is a house full of children expecting to be constantly entertained, consuming unnatural amounts of food, and trying their best to push every limit. the last weeks of summer are about one thing: survival.

and survive we did.

we sent seven kids to school last week…griffen to 12th grade, gabe to 10th, emma to 8th, leslie to 7th, grace to 6th, lucy to 5th, and eli to kindergarten.

the first day recap was full of smiles and excited tales of classes and friends, teachers, lockers, and schedules. the euphoria of that first day has faded; we’re now in the stage of alarm clock grumbles, friend drama and homework. there’s something so normal about it, and the kids have settled in…even ivy is embracing her status as the only homebody in the group.

last year the start of school was filled with uncertainty for most of our kids: new schools, new friends to make, unsure smiles. we survived, but i remember how these first few days of school felt. they were scary for all of us. until that point we had kind of sheltered our giant little family, wanting to give everybody time to adjust and settle as much as possible. something that happens when two women leave their husbands and combine a family that now includes eight kids and are pretty open about all of that on social media is that a lot of the world thinks your life is fair game for them to comment on and make judgements about. we got burned more than once last summer, and tried to learn from that experience, so we pulled our kids in close and focused on them and each other and trying to become a family, while at the same time sheltering them from as much of the fallout as we possibly could.

sending them out in the world on the first day of school felt pretty scary. would their old friends be nice to them? would new friendships come easily? there were a million things to worry about…i know because i worried about every single one of them. and you know what? it wasn’t perfect, and it took some time, but it was so good.

this year, sending them off to school felt natural and normal…what a difference a year makes, huh?

(oh…and happy 23rd. it’s a day we always pause to remember the day that everything changed. seventeen months. and i wouldn’t go back or change a single thing.)


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