It is back to school time already! I can hardly believe it, summer really flew by so quickly. We had one of the BEST summers ever. We went to Mexico, swam for hours and hours, rode bikes together, read tons of books, hung out with our friends, experienced a solar eclipse...the list of fun things that we did this summer is really miles long. Now it is time to get back down to business, back to the routine of early bedtimes and early wake-ups, back to waiting for that yellow bus to arrive and take my little guy off to school .
Last year was our first year of elementary school. When I say we were ready for that, it is no understatement. My little guy, Brody (that's him on the right in his neon cheeseburger shirt), was more than ready to hit the ground running and have some independent time away from me, and I was ready to have some regular work hours. Yay, for not having to stay up all hours of the night to get editing and emails done. He had a fantastic Kindergarten year. I am not kidding or exaggerating when I say that. Kindergarten exceeded my expectations. A lot of that had to do with the fact that he had the most AMAZING teacher. She really got the kids. She embraced who they were and encouraged them all to take flight into becoming little scholars. I will forever be grateful that we had her for our first year in the elementary school. The other reason that we had the best kindergarten year ever is that we found our tribe. That's right, we found our people. People who are in it, hustling everyday the same way we are, trying to make it through the day and come out on top (or at least not on the bottom, somewhere in the middle will do too).
When Kindergarten started, I don't think either of us knew what to expect. I mean, it was totally new territory for us. All day school. Brand new people. Lunch in a cafeteria. Learning to read. Trying to help facilitate the learning to read. Math. New rules. Everything was new. Brody took to school like a champ. He LOVED it. I don't know what I was worried about. He is a social butterfly and made new friends so easily. I was so happy for him.
These kiddos and their parents mean to world to Brody and I. They are our tribe. These are the people that we are going to experience the next 12 years of school with. I have a client, and friend, who gave me some advice before Brody started Kindergarten. She said, "Get to know the kids, get to know the parents. Be in the school as much as you can." I took her advice and I am so glad that I did. Birthday parties, Happy Hours (just us moms, of course!), playground play dates, extra curricular activities...these are the people that we get to do all of that with. I am so lucky to call these families my tribe. They are the ones that I text or call when I can't find the paper that the teacher sent home about an important project, they are the ones that tag me on Facebook in memes about hitting Happy Hour because our kids are driving us crazy, and they are the ones that are hanging in there with me on this journey into watching our kiddos grow up. I have this feeling that we are all going to be needing to lean on each other at some point.
These kids. They are all such amazing kids. I think that they helped each other make it through that first year of elementary school just as much as their parents helped me make it though. I have to say, I think we all navigated those waters like bosses and now they are all ready to hit first grade confidently.
They aren't all together this year, and we knew to expect that, but we made a pact to stick together. We hung out a bunch this summer and the kids were always so excited to see each other.
As I am sure you can tell by this group hug or tackle...I don't know, boys. Boys are kind of weird, but we all love them anyhow. Of course they are full of crazy energy and are super loud all of the time.
But watching them play and learn together all year inspired me to start a project. Each year, at the end of the school year, I want to take a group picture of Brody and his buddies. I want to document their friendship throughout the years, taking the final group photo when they all graduate. Just thinking about it kinda brings tears to my eyes. Graduation? I can't even think about that! But I know that I will get there, and I will make it through because I have my tribe. I know that Brody will get there and he will make it through because he will have his tribe.
We had so much fun during this photo shoot. It was the perfect start to for project. Afterward we rewarded all of the kids with Ice cream from the Dairy Queen. The kids sitting around their own table while us parents sat nearby at a different one. They all seemed so grown up even thought their ice cream was melting all over them and they were collecting rocks from around the outdoor seating. While we ate we discussed how all of them were having sassy or back talking moments, how we were going to get through the summer homework packets, the never ending struggle of screen time, and the relief that we all felt that we were dealing with the same struggles. That is what I am looking forward to over the next twelve years. Having this tribe to lean on stand by all while trying to figure it out. I am glad that I won't be doing it alone.
Another first this year, Brody declared this lovely lady his girlfriend. Her mom and I thought it was uber adorable that they both wanted to go on a date until we got a note sent home that they disrupted the whole class with their love. I mean, look at them, how adorable are they? I guess I can see how they could be distracting.
I am so glad that I had the idea for this project. These photos and memories will be something that Brody can look back on after he graduates, after college, or after starting a family of his own and know that he had a tribe.
I am so glad that we are heading into first grade with such an awesome tribe! I love you guys, thanks for being there and making this whole thing called parenting a little easier!