the year begins.

looks like we have a little bit of apprehension...
(i didn't notice it in the shuffle, but this photo shows it.)
some readiness to get started...
(the "let's get this done so i can go" smile shows it all.)
and some friends to share it all with.
the proud new grades: first and third.
the above picture represents them well.
oliver is finding comfort in nic being beside him,
and nic is looking ahead, down the street ready to meet his new year.
neighborhood friends.
we did this picture last year.
nic is the only third grader, the rest are in first grade.
below is the walk.
abigail was ready to start kindergarten... only it's not her year quite yet.
she happily walked with her friend from across the street while the boys led the way up ahead.
she was determined to use her lunchbox too.
so we made a plan to take a lunch to the library after the boys got settled.

i've been thinking a good bit about this journey my kids are taking. it's not difficult for me to remember holding nic in my arms the moments after i gave birth to him. and to think that he is half way finished with elementary school really just astounds me.
every inch of me wants to hold on to my kids.
my love for them has a fierceness that surprises me.

and that's why giving them to someone else for the whole day can just seem so wrong.
i want to control and protect and defend and teach and love them.
and keep them to myself.

to raise them well, i must raise them to leave me.
i'm not exactly sure how to do that, but somehow watching them enter this new year feels like a part of that lesson.
and for me, letting go a little takes a humility i don't have much of
and willingness to admit that maybe, just maybe it's better for them to be away from me for a while during the day.

but don't you think for one minute that i don't smother them with hugs and kisses when they return home. and i have one more thing to add:
dear, dear school down the road from me,
please know that when i send to you my two young men, that i am sending you a part of my own soul. i thank you for wanting to help me raise my kids and i pray that they will be a gift to you while they are there.