School of Life

The First Day of School
2013 – 2014
  
   What an exciting day!!!  My kiddos have seriously been waiting for school to FINALLY start up again.  For me personally, that kind of an attitude is a HUGE victory!  I can’t help but think back to ALL the years my kids struggled to go to school.  Tears, tantrums, cases of the “Bad Attitudes” and other memories that I don’t wish to ever repeat.  But . . . with all of those hardships came some of the sweetest blessings.  
    First of all, I wouldn’t be feeling SO GRATEFUL or SO PROUD of my kids today, IF we had never experienced those difficult and trying times.  Second, I wouldn’t be the woman and mother that I am today.  I look back to those early years with E and remember how scared I was, how confused and utterly lost I felt, and how hopeless things looked.  Now, 10 years later, I can hold my head up high and praise my Father in Heaven for not only helping us get to where we are today, but THANK HIM for the WONDERFUL opportunities that came our way to learn, grown and connect with Him on a deeper, more personal level.
   Only through trials do we more easily fall to our knees!  If nothing else, my kiddos and I were taught that prayer MATTERS!  That hope is alive and well.  And that ANYTHING is possible! I am so proud to be a mother and to be the mother of 4 incredible, talented and beautiful children (inside and out), that Heavenly Father has created.  I am one blessed and happy mama!
   This year, school started a tad bit early.   August 21st to be exact.  It was fun for the kids to not have to wait too long for school to start, but it sure did make wrapping up our Summer pretty tough.  Between scout camps, family reunions, visits from friends from Texas (Scott’s and Barrett’s), band camp, family vacation to Mount Rushmore and everything in between – we just felt like summer flew by in a hurry!  Poor Paul felt it the worst.  He never quite had a break.  Between fixing my dad’s RV trailer, business trips, scout camp and the family reunion; he just never seemed to have any time to just relax.  So . . . we are doing that now.  Yes, after school has started!
   But I digress, we are here to talk about the First Day of School . . . and here it is!  E was the first to take on the brand new school year.  He was super about getting up, dressed, lunch made, breakfast  made and scriptures read . . . all before I even woke up.  (Again, summer was rough and it sure was difficult to embrace an early school schedule again).  I was so tickled to see how excited he was to get to school!
Of course pictures were a bit of a nuisance, but that is the prerogative of any parent!  
A first day of school picture is a MUST!  Aren’t I right?
   Because I had volunteered to help with the Back to School Dinner for the teachers and staff, I actually had to get to the elementary school pretty early on the First Day of School.  But K and G didn’t seem to mind.  They were actually pretty excited to just get that first moment over with.  So . . . we got to school before the sun had even really come up.  (that is why the picture is so dark)
   My all day elementary kiddos!


   G was SO excited!  K too, but more to see her friends.  G just wanted to get to his desk (first one ever) and get right to work.  This year, both K and G have teachers with the same last name.  We thought that was pretty cool and made it a fun way to start a new year.
   I took the kiddos into the teacher’s lounge, while I washed ALL the dishes from the dinner the night before, but K just couldn’t wait.  She yelled, “Bye Mom!” and off she went.  (sniff, sniff)  G just paced back and forth.  He couldn’t stand the excitement of FINALLY being in the first grade.  I washed as fast as I could, but we were so early, there really wasn’t any reason to go any faster.  But G couldn’t stand it.  So, finally, I finished up the best I could and put him out of his misery.  That walk to his First Grade door was the longest walk I have ever made with G.  I realized in that moment that he would NEVER be home with me again.  His todder, preschool years were officially over.  He was now in the hands of “strangers” to mold and hopefully develop him into the young man I know he can be.  I love that little boy!  From the moment he was born, he has been a joy to us.  I just pray others will see that same joy in him and will embrace it and not let any harm come to his gift to love freely.

 G’s classroom is decorated like a jungle Australian/African Safari.  He chose the Tiger Table at the very back of the room.  He also chose to sit by his best friend from Kindergarten.
   Well, after a tender hearted good-bye, from me of course (G was too busy getting to work), I strolled down the long hall towards the front doors of the school.  Then it hit me . . . what about K!?!?  Just because she said, “Bye Mom!”, doesn’t mean I can’t go see her too?  So . . . I DID!!  I walked down another long hall to K’s classroom.  I walked in the doorway and asked the teacher if I could just talk to K a minute.  She is a brand new teacher at Oakridge (actually a sister to one of my neighbors/walking friends).  She said it was okay, so I snuck in and snapped a picture of her at her desk.

 K sitting next to a new friend named after a famous city.  K insisted on doing her own hair the first week of school.  She did allow me to help tie ribbons in her hair.  I took this picture for her to see if she approved of them.  She did.  And the last photo is added because this is all she would let me take of her around the first day of school.  So, this is K enjoying bacon for the first time – CRISPY!  She has had a hard time eating bacon since she was little, too fatty.  But burning the bacon seemed to solve that problem. 
Boy is she growing up fast!
   Luckily K was pretty cool about me taking her picture (thank heavens!).  But before I left, I reminded her that it was her responsibility to watch over G, just as E had watched over her.  She said, in her “you’re bugging me mom voice”,  “I KNOW MOM!”  And that was that.  My cue to leave was given.  Ouch!  Boy is parenting tough some days.  Instead of giving her my “you’re in big trouble face”, I chose to smile and just let her attitude toward me go.  I realized that she was just trying to be her and didn’t need a parent around to do that.  So, I grabbed the only hand I had left to hold, L’s, and we made the long walk down the empty hall to the front doors of the school.  (sniff, sniff)
   We had only been away from the school a few minutes when L started to speak up and tell me ALL about the day she had planned for us.  WHAT?!?!?  Uh oh, I’m in BIG TROUBLE!  I did try to comply with what she wanted to do, but after playing Barbies, reading stories and her insisting we play “Mommy and Baby” (where I play the mommy and she pretends to be my baby.  Why are we pretending to play this game again?  I believe we already are doing this in real life, so why do we need to pretend?) . . . and then an answer to a prayer came.  A friend called and invited us to the Duck Park.  YIPPEE!!  I’ve been saved!
This is Swan Lake Barbie, in her wedding dress, dancing with her new hubby, Troy Bolton from High School Musical.  The best part about Troy is that on HIS wedding day, he felt that a Pizza Hut shirt with patched wool pants would make their day extra special.  I love this kid!

  I had no idea how HARD it was going to be with L, now that her siblings and also her best friend were in school.  L being home alone was, well to put it kindly, torture.  She was SO BORED, and SO EMOTIONAL.  She insisted I play with her just to spare her from having to play by herself.  It was the LONGEST 2 weeks of my life with her.  I felt so awful for her. I would play here and there with her, but I also felt strongly that she needed to learn to play by herself.  It was a tough lesson for both of us, but she was brave and worked through it.  Fortunately L’s best friend didn’t start school until a week later, so we were able to sneak in one more play date at the Fort Union Splash Park.  It was a magical day for both of us!

L’s swimming suit for the summer (a rash guard body suit with a Dora the Explorer swimsuit on top.)
   After a fun Labor Day weekend of: cleaning the church building, going to see Epic at the dollar movie theater (with popcorn and a drink), a much needed nap for mom (while everyone else watched t.v. with Paul – ya, I know, not like him but even Paul needs a break once in awhile), Fast Sunday – that wasn’t too fast (look for the funny down below from G), Paul making dinner for the second night in a row (company pork chops), a Monday morning trip to the Zoo with Grandma and Grandpa Whitchurch to see the Lego throughout the zoo (as well as the animals), with lunch at their house and a fun visit (until 4) and then Uncle Jeff and Aunt Rachel and their two kiddos over for homemade pizzas and ice cream for dinner . . . it was FINALLY the night before L got to go to preschool!  And boy was she excited!!


   She couldn’t believe she had FINALLY made it to preschool.  She has waited for this day as long as she can remember (for a kid, that is a LONG time!)  She told me she was a bit scared but she wasn’t going to let that stop her.  She was so sweet and “let” me take her picture several times (she is our kid that if she doesn’t want her picture taken, you CAN’T make her!)  We got her all settled and checked in and mom was on her way.  (no sniff, sniff . . . until I got home and looked at Facebook.)
   I was so proud of myself.  I told myself, “LOOK!  You are doing it!  You CAN do this!  L and the other kids going to school is just part of life.  There is nothing to cry about or be sad about.  This is the cycle of life.  You are SUPPOSED to be doing this.  So be cool and let it just be this way.”  So instead of feeling sad, I decided to send my mom a post on Facebook to show her L’s first day of school.  
   All was fine UNTIL . . . . I saw Paul’s brother’s post that his oldest son was off on his mission.  They shared a photo they had taken at the airport, as they were saying their good-byes.  Everyone was smiling but each had a look on their face like, “We HAVE to let him go!  We have too!!”  Even the oldest son had that look as well.  That was it!  I BURST into tears.  I couldn’t hold them back.  I looked at the picture again, through tear-filled eyes, and noticed the way the oldest son and his mother had their heads tilted toward each other.  Almost a last moment to touch the child you held, cuddled, rocked to sleep, tried tears for, bandaged scrapes for, encouraged, motivated, scolded, prayed for, loved unconditionally for SO MANY YEARS and now he is going, going far away where you can’t be that for him physically anymore. My heart just filled with tears and I had to let them pour out.
  It hit me then, how fast this time with our kids truly goes by.  I can still remember bringing each of my children home for the first time – ALL 5 of them!  I can still feel the softness of their skin, the grip of their tiny hands around my humongous finger, the way they squealed when I walked into the room.  And now look at them, all growing up and learning more each day, and most importantly, how to live without needing me so closely involved in their lives.  
   Now, don’t get me wrong, I KNOW I am still needed and will be for eternity.  But there will never be a moment quite like this again.  Never will I be the ONLY thing they need.  It makes me think of Heavenly Father and how stubborn we are to push Him away and “SHOW” Him that we can do it all on our own.  But, no matter how hard we try, we just can’t seem to be as happy, or as confident, or as successful without His love and support.  So, I have faith.  Even though my children are growing up, right before my eyes, I know they will still need me as long as they live and that helps me know that what is happening is just fine.  (As long as I can finish this blog post without completely ruining my make-up).
  I can’t help but be happy that I am doing the job / calling I feel I was sent here to do.  I know that today, women are striving to have it all, to be it all and to do MORE than be “just a mom!”  But from what I have learned, in my 36+ years on this earth, being a mom truly is a gift, something to be treasured.  I am SO GRATEFUL I am actually learning to treasure this time with my kids, instead of wishing it away or hurrying it up faster.  Because before I know it  . . . THIS BOY will be gone and doing what he was sent here to do and I will be that mom, at the airport of life, tilting my head towards his, grasping at one last touch, one last moment to call him my baby and then let him fly.  Boy is being a mom not for the faint of heart!!!




*  So, I can’t end with just tears.  I MUST leave you with a funny from our Joy Boy, G!  *

Last Sunday was Fast Sunday in our church (one Sunday a month that members of our church set aside to fast for two meals.  We then take the money we would have spent on those two meals, and for some we donate much more, and donate it to our church to be given to those who need it.  That is why we call it Fast Sunday.  It is one of my favorite days of  the month.  But for a small boy . . .well, I’ll let him tell you what he thinks of this day.)

  “Me and the three youngest kiddos were sitting on a chapel pew, listening to the speakers.  Church had been going on for quite awhile but we still had about 25 minutes left of the meeting.  G was having a hard time.  Even though he was busily coloring, he just couldn’t seem to sit still and he seemed to fidget quite a bit, even while he was coloring.  I was worried how long he was going to actually be able to stay busy, when all of a sudden he asked:

G:  “Mom, is today Fast Sunday?”  

Me:  “Why yes G, it is?!”

G sits there for a minute, starts to fidget and looks around the chapel.  Then with a big SIGH he states:

Well, it SURE isn’t GOING VERY FAST!”

I started to laugh but realized that the person speaking was actually crying at this point, so I stopped myself immediately and leaned over to G and said, “We’ll talk about this later, because that isn’t what Fast means for Fast Sunday.”  

He just looked at me, almost bored to tears, but fortunately he went back to coloring.  Poor kid.

  ~  Have a great day!


  2 comments for “School of Life

  1. September 4, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Thanks for sharing! Your description of seeing M&M’s photo at the airport and what it made you think of your own kids had me in tears. Thanks for the reminder that they grow up way too fast and I just need to enjoy the stage they are at. Even though I want more time to myself and more sleep at night I’m sure there will come a day that I wish I didn’t have as much time and sleep as I wanted and just had my kids back to hold and cuddle. Every stage of life is fun, but we need to enjoy that stage and not push them too quickly onto the next. I loved your first day of school pics and the stories. So glad all your kids were so happy about school this year and that L got to go to preschool finally!

  2. September 5, 2013 at 2:35 am

    Thanks Rachel for reading this. So sweet of you to respond. I definitely have had a heavy/full heart today. Thanks for the love! Love YOU! Wendi

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