Turn that Back to School Sadness into Smiles!

It’s the time of year again. The time of year that you see your friends and family posting back-to-school photos with the comments like “I'm so sad this day is here" or "where did the time go?” I, too, am guilty of that - I very often wonder how time could pass by so quickly!?! I find myself saying "wasn't she just turning 5?" or I often have those “wasn’t that just last year?” moments. But this week, I read a social media post made by a friend that changed my perspective. Even though I had one daughter that began her journey at Daphne High School this week and the other moves to Spring Hill College tomorrow, I prayed that my outlook might be changed this time around. This fall, I will be excited for their journeys; I will look forward to the new experiences they will encounter. And I will be grateful for the chance to witness it all!

With this newfound outlook, I noticed at the end of the first day of high school, I was asking my daughter more detailed questions, to see if her excitement was what I had hoped. She had a great day. She was happy to be back sharing new halls with a great group of friends, meeting many more new ones, and laughing with new teachers. She was excited to be a part of a new school and new traditions that high school brings. She walked to the car happy, with a smile on her face, and that made my heart smile big. 

I also realized while helping my older daughter pack her belongings to move to college this week that I needed to de-stress during this process. If she doesn’t have everything when she moves into her tiny new space, then we’ll make do. She has her material belongings ready to be packed and she, too, will be beginning a journey that will forever be a part of her. She will learn new strategies, also make new friends, learn to get back up when she falls (because, we tell her, she will fall). Me being stressed about her leaving will certainly not make her leaving any easier, on any of us. But if she sees me calm and excited for her future, I hope that she, too, will have a sense of calm as she moves into her temporary home and enters her new classrooms next week for the first time.

Which brings me to this… I have chosen to be happy this fall as they return to school because I feel that we, as their parents, have prepared them both for these new experiences. We have loved them, taught them, disciplined them, help guide them in their walk in faith, and so much more. We have taught them that each experience is meant to be a lesson, both good and bad. We have encouraged them both for years to be who they were created to be, but always striving to be better, and knowing that God has an amazing plan for both of them! We, as their parents, are here to love them and guide them in the most positive and constructive ways we know how. Sometimes we fail; sometimes we allow our own stresses to interfere with their lives as children. But if we, all parents, learn to  recognize these moments and use them as precious lessons for us all to learn from, then we’ll all be better off.

So as the kiddos start their new journeys across the Eastern Shore and beyond this week, as they pack up their backpacks, head off to the bus, car pool with friends, and head down the highway to college, be thankful for the experiences you are about to witness. Be confident that you have taught them the lessons they will need to take on each day, one day at a time. And most importantly, no matter what life throws at them - bullies, anxiety, course loads, etc. - always, always encourage them to be themselves. Be proud of who they have grown to be. Others will follow. Maybe others will follow you in your place of happiness and excitement and not just sadness that one more summer has come and gone.

Happy Fall!


(Look for #BeYou and #SoSheDid on social media and use the hashtags when encouraging your kids!)

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