Back to school!

My kids went back to school this week. This time of the year is very stressful for me. Not only is there the expense of buying new clothes, backpacks, and supplies, but there’s also the emotional hold of letting go of my children a little more.

Each school year means they have grown up and away just a little bit.

My daughter started the third grade and she’s still only seven years old until Monday. She’s the youngest in her class and the youngest in our family. My only daughter. The one who takes my kisses, peels them off her face, puts imaginary glue on the back, and sticks them back on her cheeks to keep them forever.

My third son is a walking brain, always thinking and continually questioning the world around him. He’s already determining what his science project will be and tickled that his teacher always gets all of the “smart kids”.

My second son sailed through gifted classes and now finds himself taking advanced placement classes as he enters high school as a freshman. He’s also over 6 ft tall and as cute as he can be with long dark hair and big brown eyes. He’s preparing to play football knowing that it’s a pass to play situation where if he isn’t passing his classes, he can’t play football. This is going to be a tough year for him, but he’s ready for the challenge. As long as some girl doesn’t side track him, I think he will do just fine.

Finally, my oldest son is finishing up his college classes and I hope he will be able to find a job out in the real world.

I watch the kids grow up measured by a calendar based on new clothes, pencils, and teachers. A school year paused by a summer break where kids can just be kids before they leave again to return to the educational institution and remind me how fast they are growing up.

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56 Comments on “Back to school!”

  1. shraddha says:

    wow your kids are smart…

    what a blessing!

  2. Four kids? If you start taking siestas, you’ll officially be Spanish! That’s great that you are letting your son play football. Colleges and especially employers are looking for very well rounded kids now. It is the smart kids that can fit in with the smart kids, the cool kids, and play well enough to fit in with the athletic kids that go the furthest in life! I should know; I was one of them. Except the whole thing about being smart and going far in life. Not those two.
    Why is school starting so early?

    • Scott, That was such a well rounded comment. I was one of those kids too, except for the whole athletic and going far in life part. School here always starts the first week in August. They only have 2 months off in the summer, and then a week in the fall, a week in the spring and 2 weeks at Christmas. It’s too hot to do anything anyway so they might as well be in school.

  3. Enjoy your kids whilst you can, mine are 29 and 30 and neither have spoken to me for over 5 years.

    They behaved badly to me and would not see it.

    Families eh?

    dave

    • ElPresGod,
      Call them. I haven’t spoken to my own father in 17 years. It’s too late now, but if he had just picked up the phone and called me 10 years ago… 5 years ago.. a year ago…

      Seriously.

      What do you have to lose? Do you ever really stop being a parent? Kids are kids, no matter how old they are.

  4. NobblySan says:

    Claire,

    Don’t get stressed about them growing up. Just enjoy them as they are at any given age.

    Our ‘kids’ are 20 and 17 – my son is currently living in Italy for 12 months, and whilst I miss having him around, I’m genuinely happy that he is enjoying life. My daughter is busy planning which university to go to, and hence getting ready to fly the nest.

    The thought of no longer having kids around the place leaves MrsN very upset; although whether this is due to the fact that she’ll be stuck with just me has yet to be determined.

    I can look back at photos and video of when they were younger and enjoy it, but I can honestly say that I enjoy spending time with them just as much now, as I did back then.

    Plus ca change, plus c’est le meme chose….. as they say.

    • Nobbly,
      Poor Mrs Nobbly. Stuck alone with you all the time? 😉

      Part of me looks forward to the day when all of my little birds have flown the nest and are standing on their own two feet. That means I did my job as a parent. The rest of me is already sad thinking how quiet (but clean) my house will be.

  5. Julie says:

    Now I don’t feel so bad! No. 1 son turns 23 today (going to his surprise birthday party a little later – I think NOW is the time to haul out those nude baby photos of him!).

    No. 2 son is a New Years Day baby and turns 20 next New Years Day.

    Then along came No. 3 son (who popped my glorious idea that women don’t have babies at 35 with a screaming yell!) – he’s just turned 7!!!

    As for No. 4 – I think that one will have to be kept on ice for my next lifetime!

    • Good morning afternoon evening night, Julie!

      Happy belated birthday to No 1 Son! My baby will be 8 on Monday. There’s 11 years between my oldest and my youngest, so you beat me on that one. By the time number 4 came around, I figured out what caused that.

      My husband made a comment today after our daughter’s birthday party that Bob Barker gave the best advice ever! Otherwise, we’d probably have a lot more kids.

      I think he meant it as a good thing?

  6. yorksnbeans says:

    I was definitely the youngest in my class with 12/31 being my birthday. When I started school we lived in a state where my birthday was the cut-off date. Then we moved to another state where the cut-off was in October. Then, going into 10th grade we moved yet to another state where the cut-off was September, so I was in the same grade as kids who were over a year older than me. Not only that, I was the smallest in my classes until I finally reached my full height at about 16. She’ll be fine!!

    You have a big spread between your oldest and youngest. They all sound like great kids!

    • Hi Bean!
      You were so close to being baby new year! Does that make you baby old year? Nah,the year just saved the best for last, right?

      The cutoff here is the end of August, so my daughter is one of the youngest, and my second son is one of the oldest since his birthday is in September. When he started Kindergarten, he went to a preschool that was in a private school and the teacher said he was so far ahead of the other kids that he was bored. The private school’s cutoff date was 12/31 so I enrolled him in kindergarten. The next year, we moved and he had to do kindergarten all over because they had a different cutoff date and he had to be in the private school at least 2 years to not abide by the cutoff. Poor kid did kindergarten twice because he was too smart!

    • NobblySan says:

      Wow, YnB! – you reached your full height at 16?

      Whether that’s inches or feet, it must still qualify you for a place in the Guiness Book of Records.

  7. YNB said it. Nice spread of ages. Makes for built in babysitters.

  8. Spike says:

    being the youngest in class is so cool… especially if you’re smarter than most 😉

  9. I remembering measuring this way, and looking forward to summer vacation as much as my daughter.

    Then as she got older I looked forward to not having a school schedule at all, and now that we’ve been there for awhile, I miss looking forward to summer.

    This post brings back fond memories.

    • I love looking forward to summer. I can feel how free they feel and I know it happens for such a short time in life. The freedom of summer.

      Too soon, they won’t have summers off.

      And when they get excited about going back to school and seeing their friends, I get excited with them. I liked way out in the country as a kid and the only time I got to see my friends was at school so it was always a big deal. The joys of being a kid only last for twenty years or so and they are in such a hurry to grow up. I don’t want them to grow up any faster than they have to… except that 18 year old who needs a job!

  10. Ivan says:

    … in the meantime my kiddos are stuck at home because of the H1N1. Classes were postponed again. My ex-wife is in her hometown taking care of her dad who is suffering with heart conditions. I feel so sorry for her. Poor thing. Fortunately, I only live 3 blocks away from the “loves” of my life and it helps a great deal. But, today is Friday, and tonight is the night… uhuuuuuu [I don’t know what would be the version for uhuuuuuu in English, but you should have guess that it’s a ‘party time’ sort of cheer… ] 🙂

    Claire, be a good girl and don’t take that long to say a word to all of us. Btw, I would love to read your book!

    • Ivan, With you urging me on, I can’t slack off at all!

      What’s the H1N1?

      uhuuuuuuuu could be WOOOHOOO!?

      I don’t intentionally stay away. I like you guys!

      Order the books Ivan. I’d love to know what you think. They will ship them to you.

      http://secondwindpublishing.com/ClaireCollins.html

      • Ivan says:

        Influenza A(H1N1) virus is a subtype of influenzavirus A and the most common cause of influenza (flu) in humans. In June 2009, World Health Organization declared that flu due to a new strain of swine-origin H1N1 was responsible for the 2009 flu pandemic. This strain is commonly called “swine flu” by the public media.

        Serious stuff, dear friend.

        I’ll check on the books!

        Tks

  11. tannerleah says:

    What is great about kids is that they are special at every age. I can remember how fun they were when they were little, yet I have equal enjoyment with them now that they are older. It is different, to be sure, but it is equally awesome.

    Dear God, that may have been the sappiest thing I have ever written.

    • TL,

      It’s so good to see you again! I called you out in my last post…

      That was pretty sappy, but it’s okay, we can keep that just between us. I won’t tell anyone that you have a sweet side a mile long.

      I enjoy my kids at every age too. Each of my kids has kept me awe struck since birth. Every smile, every milestone, every accomplishment is so important. I love babies, but I don’t want my children to be babies again. I look forward to watching my son’s football games this year and seeing what my other son comes up with for the science project and what my daughter thinks up to make me belly laugh and what my oldest finds for a job.

      Life is good.

  12. I’ve still got several years before I start worrying this way. Or even missing the kids. My stepdaughter is 12 but the other two are approx. 3 and 5. I’m sure at some point, the wisdom that I have worked tirelessly to instill (12 hrs/week; weather permitting) will be used against me in the pitched battle of adolescence.

    And by the way, thanks for all your support of the past few months, Claire. I really do appreciate your frequent visits to both my site and my wife’s. You’re an awesome human being, which is really underrated these days.

    Tanner: that is the sappiest thing you’ve ever written. But good for you, there’s still a heart beating your inner child senseless underneath that stony and slightly tipsy exterior.

    • CLT, just wait, I think one of the most exciting things for me is when one of my kids is able to match wits with me and present a strong argument with solid support to sway my opinion or when they use my own advice against me. That shows me they’ve been paying attention all these years. It does a mother proud.

      You’re too sweet CLT. You’re so smart and you keep my brain in overdrive. I really love the mental stimulation I get when I go to your blog and when I read the comments you leave for others.
      And if anyone else hasn’t seen the Tamer’s wife’s photography pages, you are really missing some fantastic shots. She on the blog roll to the right as Tetra Master: http://tetramaster.wordpress.com/

      Utoh TL. I guess I didn’t keep the secret about your sweet side very long did I? 😳

  13. G says:

    Great way to go broke, spending money on school schtuff.

    With my kids, there’s about an eight year gap between son and daughter.

    Works out quite well, as the motivational gene skipped the son and went directly to the daughter: tap, ballet, hip hop, figure skating, etc. etc. etc.

  14. cupofmondays says:

    Your kids sound wonderful and very ambitious.

  15. Bill Reed says:

    Claire,

    I’ve started by giving a substantial comment on the “Why Blog” Blog. I would have started on your latest,this one, out I would be talking out side my personal experience, for I have watched these things only longingly from outside. (Having said that I enjoyed this post!)

    Bill

    • Bill,
      I greatly appreciated your comment on the “Why blog” blog as well. I am an equal opportunity blogger, and I enjoy writing what I know, but please feel free to comment any any of my posts. I’m glad you enjoyed it although it seems to have brought about those emotions of longing. What about when you were a kid? Didn’t you look forward to summer and then the return to school?

      • Bill Reed says:

        Actually, I was just sitting outside in the evening sun, listening to the Cicadas’ sree-sree-sree … (or whatever that sound is), remembering how long the summers used to last an eternity, how I would be ready for school to begin and how everything seems to go so quickly anymore. Be warned, parts of this comment may show up in a future blog post!)

  16. wordnerd45 says:

    Claire: I love this post for its truthfulness. I, too, am watching my kids “grow up and away” way too fast. My son starts his Junior year in HS soon, and my daughter is finishing her last year in middle school. I’m not ready for either of them to be this age. Both are wonderful kids — not the smartest kids in the school, but some of the sweetest. My son still gives me hugs, tells me he “loves his mommy” and is the most angst-free child on the face of the earth. I love him for being this age and still willing to say he loves me back. My daughter is, well, she’s my “butterfly girl”. I wrote a poem about her on my blog. She’s becoming a strikingly beautiful girl and drawing attention from boys. I’m not ready for this — I want her to become ugly like I was at that age so she won’t have to learn how to fight them off.

    The Nerd

  17. Vicki says:

    You sound like a proud Mama Bear (Tree) !!!! I think having children was the best choice I made in my life!! I’ve got two great kids in college…seems like yesterday they were five years old ….just heading into school!
    I’ve enjoyed my kids so much, now I’m bugging them to find mates and give me grandchildren…which I plan to steal!!! Ha!

    Thanks for sharing Claire!

    • My kids call me Mama Bear because I am not a morning person and I sound like I’m growling instead of talking first thing in the morning.

      Yesterday we went to an indoor amusement park place for my daughter’s birthday. We turned the kids loose with their unlimited passes and my husband and I sat together on a bench and watched the people walking around. So many of them had babies and toddlers in tow. We talked about how nice it was to sit there just the two of us. We recalled the days when the little ones were both in diapers. “Give the baby her bottle while I take the other one in the ladies room and change his diaper.”
      “Okay, but the five year old wants more tokens, and where did you put the spit up rag?”
      “Push the stroller and I’ll carry the baby.”

      We decided that in the next 10 years or so, we would have grandchildren. We get the fun of playing with them, holding them, loving them, spoiling them, and sending them home or passing them off when they cry.

      I can’t wait. Payback

  18. This is my favorite time of year. Now when I come home for lunch I won’t find all these “dead-beats” draped over the couch with powdered cheese dripping from their noses watching ‘Yo Gabba Gabba’ and thinking it’s hilarious to be watching television aimed at a demographic that they surpassed ten years ago. Ding dong the summer’s dead…

  19. Man, that’s cold Rooster. Send the dead beats back to school! Get outta my house, the vacations OVER!

    You get to go home for lunch? I don’t even want to know about the powdered cheese or why it’s dripping from their noses… are you sure it’s cheese?

  20. Bob Trusty says:

    WOWSERS! So smart!

    I was home schooled for a while but eventually did go to a public school. My mum was so protective of me when i went though! Are you that protective too?

    Your children sound so wonderful, just like their Mum! HOORAY!

    Bob

    • Aww Bob you’re such a sweetie. I’m not nearly as protective of mine as your mum is. I actually want mine to move out at some point! But, you are the only child and your mum needs you. I have plenty to spare and assume at least one of them will take care of me when I’m old.

      I hope.

      • Bob Trusty says:

        Im sure they will, how could they not? You provided for them and helped them in their early years, so they should help you and provide for you in your later years. Thats the rules!

        Well thats the rules that mum told me anyway.

        Im sure thats the case with your wonderful kids!

        Stay happy Claire! It suits you!

        Bob

  21. George says:

    My own kids are developing so fast. They’re technically my step-kids, so I didn’t have the pleasure of watching them grow as little kids (they’re 10 and 14). I feel like my time with them is so limited that I have to make the best out of it and appreciate and love them as much as I can before they’re finally gone from the nest.

    Great blog, Claire!

    • I saw your beautiful model wearing the Hank shirt. My son wants a Hank shirt.

      I hope that even once the kids are gone, they are still actively involved in my life. My husband’s grandmother cooked “family dinner” every wednesday night until she passed away. Once her kids moved out, all of them would return with their kids and grandkids to have Wednesday dinner. We miss those dinners. I want to be like that.


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