Wednesday, August 17, 2016 this thing still on?

Recently, I had a friend ask me if I was ever going to blog again? I hadn't in a while.  I told him that I wasn't sure anyone actually ever read them.  I was also worried that they would all start to sound the same to everyone.  It wasn't for lack of content or desire, I just wanted it to be good and worth your time.  So, I am back again, with another story to tell you.

Today was the girls first day of school, and by girls, I mean all of them.  This will be the only year that they will all be in the same school together.  I am not sure the great administrators and teachers at Roosevelt can fully understand the faith/trust we are putting in them. It is pretty cool that Hadley's teacher has now taught all four of my girls. She will probably be the only one to ever say that.  It may not mean a lot to her teacher, but it means something to me.  Roosevelt has all my girls.  I'd be lying if I said it didn't make me a little anxious.  However, I am confident that they couldn't be in better hands.

Like many things during your child's adventure of life, this is a very bittersweet day for Brooke and I.  We don't look forward to back to school day like some parents.  We enjoy the summers and the time spent with the girls.  Not that other parents don't, but summer is something that we find our most happiness in.  The thought of the girls going away to camps, or even day camps, isn't something appealing to us.  It works for others, but we would rather enjoy our time together.  Thankfully, our jobs allow this to happen.  I understand how fortunate we are for that.  With this sense of appreciation, we always try to have amazing summer activities together.  We make lists every May and check them off as they are completed.  Regardless of where the activity takes place, the point of it is for us to do it together.  So far, we all still really enjoy each others company.  That is one reason why today is a bittersweet day for us.  Now, the days will be a little more about survival, whether its survive until the weekend, or survive until next summer, and a little less about enjoying it.  I know this is something I need to work on. With all that in mind, we don't Sparta kick our kids out the door.  We truly wish that the summer wasn't over.

The first day of school is also bittersweet,  because it is a direct reminder of how old they are getting. I miss the days when they were crawling around the floor.  I could scoop a kid up with one arm, and one my biggest concerns was making sure we had an extra diaper in case of a blow out, or extra binky in case one seemed to have grown legs and walked away.  First day of school is another reminder that those days are long gone.  I will have to fight a little bit more for their attention. I will have to schedule more time for just us, and they will be distracted a lot more by life.  I gotta let go, even though I wish to hold on tighter.

The first day of school is also great, because I am so proud of the young girls they are becoming.  They have a great group of friends, they seemingly are good people, and they care about the things that matter.  They aren't generally bothered by the things that don't. They probably do a better job of that than I did at their age.  As with most things, thats probably a direct result of their mother's parenting.  It is a great day, because they are so excited.  They all love school and the opportunities that are ahead of them.  In a lot of ways, it is like Christmas.  I know they are better at that than I was.  I hope that they do well, study hard, and face all of life's adversity with the same determination that they showed on this day. Most importantly, I hope that they are kind to all their classmates, and are known to be the good kid, not necessarily the popular kid.

The first day of school is also a tearful one.  For me....not really Brooke.  This year, Reagan goes in on the complete opposite side of school than everyone else.  She is the big girl of the school. I wanted to make sure that I said goodbye to her one more time.  This required me to walk around the school to her line.  I wasn't sure what I would see when I got over there, or how she would react when I did.  There she was on the ramp into school, surrounded by all her friends, and I could tell she was pretty excited.  I saw her and for a second I froze.  I saw how beautiful she looked, and for a few seconds I couldn't believe she (that) was my kid.  She looked so much like her mother.  She took my breath away. I don't know if it was fate, an act of God, or just good luck, but she looked up and saw me coming. I didn't even have to call her name out, she just came over.  She knew why I was there.  Then, the best thing happened, she gave me a big hug.  I am usually pretty good with words, but I didn't know what to say.  I thought back to my childhood, and to my father, and the first thing that came to mind was something he said to me time and time again.  I told Reagan "I love you, and I am so proud of you." I kissed her gently on her forehead. Thats when I almost lost it.  God knows I didn't want to cause a scene for her sake.  She said "I love you too, Dad."  As she ran off to be with her friends, she looked back one last time almost to say "I got this, Dad."  And I know she does.  

I tried very hard to compose myself as I walked back around to find the other girls.  I saw Caroline first, gave her a big hug and said "I love you, Caroline. I am so proud of you."  "I love you too, Daddy." She said.  She then looked at me said "Are you about to cry?"  She then gave me a big squeeze. "Have a good day, Daddy." "Caroline, thats what Im supposed to say to you."

Hadley Blaine was next.  She didnt something she hadn't done in a while.  She asked me to pick her up, so I did.  I held her tight, more in a hugging embrace than simply carrying her.  Brooke was right there and saw in my eyes I was about to lose it.  It was as though Hadley knew this was a big step for her.  I didn't say a word, I didn't have to.  

Baylor Grace was last.  I gave her a hug, told her "I love you, and Daddy's is proud of you." She quickly went back in line. She is actually a shy kid, and find's crazy situations like this morning the most difficult to deal with (out of all of our kids).  I also think she wanted to be the first person in line, because she absolutely loves her teacher.  She has wanted Mrs. Velasco to be her teacher for many years.

I thought about all this on my way work.  I remember that I was never embarrassed by telling my folks that I loved them in front of my friends.  Even as I got older.  While Im typically not into PDA, I never want my kids to shy away from hugging their folks or (most importantly) their sisters.  No matter what....because you never know. So with that, they were all gone for the day.  Swallowed up by another school year.  One year older.  For the most part, I held it together. High five for me.  Brooke will actually have a few hours by herself on one day of the week.  Just one. But, I bet she will sit on a couch with all the lights off, no noise, and just sit there.  The whole time.  High five to her.