Tag: school

Loneliness and Tweenhood: But We All Shine So Brightly

Loneliness and Tweenhood: But We All Shine So Brightly

Note: I’ve been struggling a lot with writing about my kids as they get older. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down to post something similar to what I’ve written below only to cringe and delete the whole thing because…well, I don’t want 

Wednesday Addams Eat Your Heart Out

We were in the car on the way home from school, talking about recess. “Mom!” Saoirse said. “I saw Quinlan on the playground. She was trying to build a nest.” From the rearview mirror, I saw Quinlan turn to her sister.  “No,” she replied. Her 

Because Seasons Change

David and Cian and I just dropped the girls off for their first day of the new school year. First and second grade. Tiny plaid uniforms. Backpacks that still look a bit too big for their little bodies. Saoirse told me last night that she wasn’t ready for the year to start–this summer had been too nice. Too much fun. “Relaxing,” she said. You know already that I felt the same way. I wasn’t the Author this summer, or really even the Author Mom. I really didn’t have a choice to be anything other than Regular Mom once vacation started, and while I’m not so sure I want to know what that means for a burgeoning writing career, these past weeks were some of the best that I can remember. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have a choice: I had to be in the mix with these three kiddos whether I wanted to be working or not, so I just gave myself over to it. It was the first time since I started writing toward publication that I didn’t feel utterly guilty, like I was failing at something. I guess it showed.

Quinlan said last night that she was nervous for today, but that it was an excited nervous, the butterflies-in-your-stomach kind (Saoirse said that bad nervous felt like fireflies in your stomach, so butterflies are much better). They had smoothies for breakfast. Saoirse was able to get hers down, but that was it. Quinlan didn’t drink hers, but managed a scrambled egg (microwaved in a mug, happily prepared by her big sister). David said it reminded him of his own first day of school, when his mom would get up early to cook him a special hot breakfast, and he’d be so nervous he could barely get it down.

8.22.16. First Day. Cian classroomThe girls. So happy. So nervous. They said hello to the teacher from their kindergarten days, who was on parking lot duty for the first week. We greeted the principal, and the church pastor, both with smiles on their faces. Saoirse asked that I not make her and Quinn stand in front of the school to take their picture, and I swallowed hard and gave her a hug. And then I watched my girls walk into school and I burst into tears. I mean, tears. In public. In front of people. Who does that? I never have. It’s just: First grade. Third grade. Already. We got back to the van and I straight-up ugly cried.

David just walked into my office and dropped a kiss onto the top of my head. He said: it’s so quiet. I’m used to having them around. This is a good thing, but…it’s just so quiet. Cian is sitting on my lap right now, watching me type. He starts preschool in a couple of weeks. Just a couple of days a week, but here we go. It’s going to be quiet.8.22.15. First Day. Girls shoesMaybe it wouldn’t feel so strange if David and I weren’t both home during the day. Maybe if we were both out of the house, working away from home rather than right here, right in the middle of where we live our lives every day, we wouldn’t be so emotional. But probably still so. It all goes by so quickly. I don’t think I’ve ever had this rough a time with it. I mean, there are always a few tears when this milestone comes, but enough already. This is embarrassing.

This morning after we came back home, I sat down here, at my desk, and opened my laptop. Cian brought in a few toys and started playing at my feet, talking to himself mostly, and sometimes to me. I watched the school bus go by outside the window, carrying the public elementary school kids who start their own first days today, too. Parents posted pictures to Facebook of smiling kids, of handheld milestone signs, of themselves leaping in the air for joy. And I wondered why I’m having such a hard time this year until: I started out as a stay-at-home mom to one. And now there’s just one at home. Dude. That happened fast.8.22.16. First Day. girls classroomSo now I sit here while Cian curls himself into a ball against my chest, clutching his stuffed T. Rex. “I miss my sisters,” he says. I tear up again, on cue, but tell him that it’ll be okay. That he’ll see them soon. And I turn again to my laptop, open up a new page, and I do what comes next.

I begin to write.

Just the Beginning

We can’t protect our kids from the world (or, in this case, being seven). You know this. I know this. I may want to be in denial about this, and yet. I got a call from the assistant principal of Saoirse’s school (the school that 

To Be Brave (No Water Ice Required)

There was a fundraiser held at my daughters’ school last week. The kids were supposed to run around a track with their classmates, trying to get in as many laps as they could within a certain period of time, essentially “earning” the money that their sponsors 

Couldn’t Say It Any Better

I’m in the midst of revisions for All the Difference (the book! the book! I’ve gone crazy and wrote a book!). I have about three more weeks until I’m due to deliver the manuscript to my editor, and just discovered that the changes I made aren’t as big as the changes I need to make, and oh my gosh, I have to get a move on.

9.4.14. Couldn't Say it Any Better. Widget sleeping

So I baked some cookies.

9.4.14. Couldn't Say it Any Better. Quinn craft

No, I’m just kidding. I’ve been working like crazy, early in the morning and right after breakfast and whenever the kids who aren’t in school are playing quietly enough that I can concentrate and not feel guilty about neglecting tiny people. I bake the cookies while Saoirse’s doing her homework before dinner.

9.4.14. Couldn't Say it Any Better. Cookies


What I’m really trying to say is that PANIC HAS SET IN. Overall, though, I’m feeling pretty good, other than the underlying current of that panic that’s continually coursing through my coffee-addled veins. Other than that. The big girls are settling into their school schedules, and I am thrilled to be in a routine again. I’m waking up early, cheerily tucking insanely expensive apples (if you want to forget about early retirement, accidentally buy some organic Honeycrisps) into backpacks (that’s the coffee working). I’m whistling as I put away the laundry, and setting the table for the third time in the day. I feel–dare I say it?–organized. I am not accustomed to this feeling. It is nice. And it’s also nice to be able to focus: on the book when I’m working on it, on Saoirse when she’s doing her homework (UGH. Homework. I apologize to every student of mine I ever had, because UGH. Homework). Books are being read–everything from Rosie Revere, Engineer to Who Pooped in the Park? (thanks to my bro for that one). Actual crafts are being made, mostly because they were assigned by Quinn’s preschool teacher, but still. MADE. And without last-minute trips to the amusement park, or oversleeping because hello, it’s summer, proper, wholesome meals are being cooked, fruit and veggies are often consumed.

9.4.14. Couldn't Say it Any Better. Quinn craft 2

I am on a deadline. Panic is still there, coursing along. But. BUT. It’s part of it. All of it.

9.5.14. Couldn't Say it Any Better. Quinn tutu running

Quinn was sitting on the couch yesterday after lunch. She didn’t have school, and had spent a lazy morning playing with her little brother and watching more TV than she should’ve because Mommy Had to Get Her Work Done. I’d just put Cian down for his nap, and had come downstairs to clean the peanut butter and half-eaten cherries off their plastic, probably not BPA-free, Target Dollar Section plates. I’ve no idea what Quinn was doing–I’m pretty sure she was just lying on the couch, hanging out–and out of the blue, she said, “Being happy is fun.”

Being happy is fun.

I said, yes, Quinn. She was smiling at me.

9.5.14. Couldn't Say it Any Better. Quinn ball backyard

Yes, it is.

It’s Fine, Honest

The first day of first grade. You know how this goes. She’s so nervous. So excited. There’s so much potential for what can happen these next months: the friendships, the learning, the community, the growth. It’s the first day of first grade. You know how it 

Mucking the Stalls

On a fun note, David dropped Saoirse off at school today super early. We were feeling fairly proud of ourselves–we’ve been cutting it too close lately, leaving too late, hitting traffic on the way to school, and it wasn’t fair to her or her sister.