To think, when he was in Kindergarten, he joyfully went to school with light-up Star Wars shoes. I remember telling my mom that I wanted him to have cute shoes and not the "dumb light up kind". I also distinctly remember my mom (who is a preschool teacher and has been since I was 2 years 9 months at the same school-hello, 35 years later) telling me that I needed to get him the shoes that Kieran was excited about. "There's only a short amount of time that kids have when the teachers don't find it distracting and kids are still little and happy to wear their light up shoes because they are cool", she said.
This was the time.
He wore his light up shoes with gladness and I'm so glad that I listened.
What I wouldn't give to rewind the time and see this little towheaded boy running toward me with his Storm Trooper feet smiling away.
My little guy is still little (much more so than his friends), but there's no denying the years that have passed. His hair still blonde and towhead for the most part, it will lighten by summer's end, but the darker shades mixed in are creeping up slowly. He will have much darker hair like his daddy come high school.
My little boy,
but entering the fifth grade in the Fall. We didn't have the opportunity to take a picture with his teacher, but her loving kindness in helping him on his school journey (which has been quite trying at times both academically and emotionally), has been nothing short of wonderful. My little boy has not grown much in stature, but oh so much in wisdom.
Didn't this little girl hanging from the monkey bars who used to wear frilly skirts and a headband just start Kindergarten? The pitter patter of her little feet on the pavement in her sparkly light up shoes have given way...
to tank tops, boy socks and high tops and sports shorts nearly every day.
She's always had her own sense of style as she should! I will never forget when we discovered that she needed glasses. We took her to the eye doctor and when she found out she needed glasses, I was a bit sad. I did not need glasses until I was a freshman in college and to me, they are a pain! Careful to keep my thoughts to myself so that she wouldn't denounce them, she tried different pairs on and with great pride. I wanted her to choose the versatile light brown ones with turquoise blue accent.
"You are boring, Mom!", she said. "I am going with purple and pink-that is more fun!"
Just like the Storm Trooper shoes, she was right.
My little girl...
who was given the blessing of a wonderful teacher. A teacher who helped her to meet her fears in math even after discovering a learning disability, to "try everything" and not consider it a disability at all, rather something that even though difficult was still conquerable.
And this sweet little TK girl...
didn't we just get your nametag and a stamp on your hand to start the first day?
Once a shy and reserved pint-sized girl (though you can't tell from the picture),
is now an extroverted, chatty, pint-sized girl. She and one other little boy were the smallest in their class.
I bought a brand new outfit for the last day of school luau. While first day of school outfits are usually the norm, this mini-me is finally starting to grow out of her size 3 clothes (well, shirts anyway) and into 4 and some 5's at 5 1/2 years old. Her shirt says, "Sunshine & Happiness".
Her teacher not only brought her sunshine and happiness, but she brought it to me as well. I was planning to volunteer just "once in a while". Lo and behold, I was on the calendar every Thursday for that first month of school. I could've said no. I could've hid in my shell that I had been in from the school year before when I took my year of leave. I am so very glad that I did not and I am proud to say that I only missed one Thursday the entire school year and that was because I was down for the count with strep throat that plagued our home for 3 solid months!
This teacher brought the joy back into my life that was sorely missing. She made it okay to go from resigning from my job as a school counselor at a school that I loved, to a school counselor stay-at-home mom who got to see magic happen in her own child's classroom. I thought my year of leave was a gift and I was wrong. I even called it "my gift year". The year I actually left was initially painful and it turned into a gift that was multiplied beyond measure.
And when it was the last day and her teacher crouched down to my sweet girl with her hands on her face...
the tears streamed down mine.
We talked all about the wonderful things she had learned including the latest song she had learned that had her doing the hula and singing the Mahalo song.
How did we get from this pair...
to this pair?
You'd never guess from either picture that they often fight like cats and dogs, but at each end to the day, they are filled with such love for each other.
One more year of preschool for this guy (who only has this first day picture and a last day picture that is captive on my phone)...
and God willing there is still TK,
the pair will shift once more!
That's the thing with life, it changes and then it changes again. I initially had this idea that I would love being at home with the kids and when I didn't, I thought something was wrong with me. In all honesty, there have been many days where I feel like I was a better mom when I was working. That's the deal with change. It's not easy. Where my patience used to run as the day is long, this change has chipped away. I fail and I get back up again...over and over and over again. That's okay though because I'm learning and I'm embracing this change which I've grown to love. Ask me if I want to go back and my answer is, "I don't know". I used to say yes. I won't say no. I don't want to live in limbo, rather I want to live NOW.
I have grown in many ways that I had not been able to in the past when I was working-things like volunteering in the classroom and joining two different Mother's groups one of which was heavily focused on growing my faith.
The theme of the year was "Transformation".
I am here to tell you that I am learning that that is what this crazy thing we call life is all about.
Nothing stays the same.
And it shouldn't.
Transformation is happening and will continue to happen for this short time we have on Earth. Whether it's my kids, my marriage, myself or my relationship with God, it's all hard work every single day. Some days I'm great, some days I'm good, many days I fail.
It's all worth the change in order to grow and live better.
So I say (as I've learned from my mother and my children), wear the light up Storm Trooper shoes, get the purple and pink glasses. Do a hula on the blacktop and sing the Mahalo song. Join a group where you know no one (true story). Pick up a great book and read. The Bible is pretty amazing!
And remember, as my planner cover says:
"There are so many beautiful reasons to be happy!"
Thank you, 2015-2016 school year. What a transformation this has been! Next stop, Summer!