Denial and the First Day of School

Wednesday of last week, the second day of school, I awoke to a quiet house. I showered, got dressed and set out to wake up the big kids from their summer-induced slumber.

I walked into the kitchen to find Connor, my almost 9-year-old, sitting at the kitchen counter in his slightly-too-small-for-him pajamas and his treasured orange baseball cap. He was swinging his feet from his perch on the stool. His back was to me, but I could see he was playing Poptropica on the laptop, his morning ritual. His summer morning ritual.

Sweetly oblivious to reality. A little stuck in the pleasant past.

With light incredulity I said, "Hey buddy! You need to go get dressed. You have school today, remember?"

He didn't greet the news with joy.


The first day of school each year is something I've come to tacitly dread. Not only does it herald an end to my beloved summer and its carefree ways, but it brings me face to face with something I'd rather ignore: My kids are growing up.

It hits me broadside, because unlike birthdays, that first week in September, all my children grow a year instantly. My goofy little boy, who used to follow me around talking incessantly, is suddenly a 3rd grader, ready to tackle multiplication tables and cursive. And my firstborn, my Natalie, is abruptly moved into a whole new hallway, a 6th grader, with her own locker, that she opens casually and stands next to, talking to her friends, clutching her pile of notebooks and fresh dreams.

Fate is gentle with me; I still have two little ones who leave the school building with me after drop-off. It lessens the sharp sting of time's swiftness. But their presence is bittersweet, because now I'm keenly aware. Teyla starts preschool this year. Next fall, it's kindergarten. And Kieran is only two years behind her. My day are numbered.

When did this happen? How did this happen?

I have been sweetly oblivious to reality. A little stuck in the pleasant past.

I don't greet the news with joy.


Still, me being a relentless optimist and all, and someone who believes with certainty that these good gifts are but a whisper of the goodness of the Giver, I can't hate the first day of school. It is but a reminder to appreciate the sunrise, to savor every minute.

Besides, denial isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes it just means I'm too busy soaking in the every day to dread what comes next. I'm loving well and living right here, right now, with my kids.

Then again, sometimes, denial really is a river in Egypt.


Parenting is not for the faith of heart, friends. Which is why I want to welcome you to the 'hood - the Parent 'Hood, to be exact, a new weekly synchroblog that focuses on all things parenting.

I will be hosting this every Monday along with some of my favorite bloggers, including FriedOkra, Vita Familiae, To Think is To Create, Joy in this Journey, Lovefeast Table and O My Family. How does a synchroblog work, you ask? Just write a post about parenting and link it up here or at one of the other host blogs using the linky below, and viola - the link to your post will appear on every site.

Our hope is that, just like in a real neighborhood, this synchroblog will spark some online community. Because we all know, in the 'hood, that smell isn't just the roses. You can read more about our dreams, and get the low down on some details, at Megan's place.


  1. Love this! Denial can often be a mama's best friend. :) Love that we're neighbors in this 'Hood!
    Chris Ann & Kritin

  2. "...clutching her pile of notebooks and fresh dreams." Oh, Natalie. Knock it off with your big girliness. A beautiful view of your beautiful firstborn. I remember those days myself, don't you.

    Happy 'Hoodin, friend. xo

  3. Love those faces smiling with excitement...I can remember those days like yesterday!

  4. Oh yes. Make me cry. GOOD GRIEF. The passage of time is hitting me so hard lately. I never DID get to those things I wanted to do with my girl when she was a baby, and now she is starting school. How does one turn off the regret when life keeps going?

    Beautiful, Kelly. Beautiful.

  5. Loved this. Can't believe Teyla is one year out from kindergarten.

  6. O mama. The seasons of the year and of life each have their perfect sweetnesses. Glad you are (mosty) too bust enjoying the present to be caught up in the ever-looming future.

  7. Tell me about denial! I have two in college and I'm not a day older! How does this happen?