Wednesday, August 2, 2017

thoughts on the first day of school

The girls set off for school this morning under gray rumbling skies.

First Grace, driving a car with a big smile because she came right home from China and got her drivers' license lickety-split (yes, a lot happens a in a couple days!). 

Then Claire rode off on her bike with fifteen other girls (and I'm not exaggerating on that number) after they requested some pictures from me (which I will have to post soon).

And then Lucy and I rode the tandem bike together to the elementary school.  And I was so torn between staying with her, like I have every year, until that first bell rang.  But I decided to refrain and let my fifth grader go in and do her thing without her mother.

I came home and raced to a workout class with Dave, Elle and her friend (we'll all be sore tomorrow) and wondered how in the world it has come to this: First of all that summer is OVER.  And second of all that my children are all growing up so fast.

I just don't think life is supposed to be so fast and furious.  

We went to check out the class lists at the elementary school on Friday (they always post them that last weekend).  Lucy was over-the-moon to get a pretty awesome teacher AND have some great friends in her class for this coming year.  (She didn't realize, but her mother was a hundred times more excited about that little fact.  How I have been praying for a great situation for her this year as things continue to change so much with her.)

Then on Monday Lucy counted down the hours until meet-the-teacher night.  We walked through that school together that night, her with determination to get to every one of her older teachers to give them a hug after a glowing meeting with her new one, and me wondering how I became the oldest mother in all the land.  So many new mothers with strollers and toddlers clinging to their legs trying to get to all their kids' classrooms one after another.  And me, trying to keep up with my one remaining elementary school child.

I swear I was just barely one of those young mothers a second ago.  Four girls in that school trying to pull me in every direction, and a boy with glasses so covered in fingerprints I wondered how he could  possibly see trying to maneuver seventh grade at the junior high.

And now I find myself here with THREE drivers, two college kids (Max still counts), and a missionary.  And it is awesome.  Never did I realize in my wildest dreams how much I would adore teenagers and big kids and watching them become.

But boy, sometimes I miss those littles.

As I scrolled through Instagram this morning my feed was spilling out with back-to-school pictures and i didn't know whether to laugh and celebrate that we are getting back to structure or be bitter that school is ending all the freedom.

But as my sister always says, "enjoy it because it's happening."

So I am.

Claire just walked in for our traditional "cookie chat"...can't wait to hear all about that big first day!  

13 comments:

  1. Wow jet lagged and able to pass the driving test! I'm seriously impressed. And after not driving for over a month.

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  2. Shawni, I have a question about parenting I want to ask and I'm not sure the best way to contact you. But this seems like a good post to make a comment to see if we can get in touch.
    How do you have and maintain such an amazing and close relationship with your daughters?
    My mother and I were never close when I was a child and into teenage years. We are closer now as I have grown up and gotten married but still, we've never had the close mother-daughter bond. I now have a daughter and she is 1.5 years old. I was very nervous when we found out we were having a girl because I didn't want to repeat a negative mother-daughter relationship.
    Do you have any advice on what you do daily, or monthly or randomly to make sure you have such great bonds with your children. Where they can and want to come and talk to you and tell you about their day.
    Any advice or even if you can give me links to prior posts you have done would be great. I have many of your other posts pinned on my pinterest board "parenting"
    Thank you.

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    1. I would also love to read a post about this!

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    2. So much on this front, however one suggestion is to read "How how to talk so kids will listen, and listen so kids will talk". Was a game changer for me.

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    3. Love this question, and I totally agree with Brittany, that book is a game-changer.

      I want to do a blog post on this at some point, but for now, here's the "short list" of things just off the top of my head that I have found help establish a close relationship:
      1) put down your phone and look in their eyes.
      2) pray intentionally and specifically for that child. You will get nudges on what to do and how to do it.
      3) have Family Home Evening and family dinners. Honestly, those are game-changers in this crazy fast-paced world.
      4) Have "interviews" monthly, whether it is the first Sunday of the month or casually at a little lunch date (I still try to do these with each kid every month). Ask questions. Listen to answers. I always ask what they're most worried about and what they're most excited about to get started.
      5) Physical contact. Give hugs! They need them and physical touch is so important for kids (and parents too!)

      Those are just some random ideas for now, but I really want to address this in a blog post soon.

      I LOVE questions like this because it helps remind me what has worked and what I need to work on.

      I wrote a post on some of my favorite mothering ideas (with more details about some of these I listed here) back here if you want to check it out: http://www.71toes.com/2008/02/7-motherhood-ideas-i-love.html

      Relationships are a constant work in progress. You will have a great relationship with that daughter of yours because you are intentional about it and you are seeking it. That makes all the difference.
      xoxo,
      Shawni

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    4. Melynde I don't know if you'll see this, but I'm wondering if you would mind if I use this question as a starter for a Q & A post. Let me know. I've been thinking about it a lot.

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  3. I am enjoying these years with "big" kids, too. Sure, I miss the little thems, but I won't waste today looking backwards too much. Enjoy it because it's happening. Yes, yes. xo

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  4. So many fun adventures in this post!

    I have a question - in your vacation photos I saw some beautiful shoulders with muscle definition on you, in this post you mention working out, it seems in an earlier post you mentioned counting macros. Any chance of doing a post on your fitness/eating routine. You look great!

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    1. You are nice, Marcella! I have been doing macros (see back here: http://www.71toes.com/2017/04/macros-and-month-with-no-sugar.html ) but I've been pretty awful for the summer. I think as school starts and we all get back into routine everyone may have some good ideas so I'll do a post to get that started some time soon. I feel lucky I get to work out with Dave quite a lot and we go to a pretty great place that kicks our booties...which is needed after the summer around here!

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  5. Your description of mothers with toddlers and strollers rushing from class to class made me teary eyed. That is me... but I realize that all too soon it won't be. I'll have a fifth, third and kindergartner this year with a toddler at home and I am in this strange place where I recognize this golden time we're in and that it's going to change quickly while at the same time being so excited to watch them grow and feeling excited for the adventures ahead! I love your perspective on growing babies and love that you share all the amazing things your family is doing as "big kids".

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  6. Wow! Your sister is so wise: "Enjoy it because it's happening". This hit me like a lightening bolt today! Thanks for your beautiful blog.

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  7. "Enjoy it because it's happening." This is why I come to your blog. Thank you! My kids are just little, and change can be hard for me. I'm going to make this my new mantra.

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  8. Love this post! Love your blog! Thanks for reminding me to enjoy this season of motherhood and to see the wonder of it all amidst the mundane and ordinary. It goes by way too fast.

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