The Back-to-School Moment That Got Me in the Feels

Today was the first day back to school for my boys.

Everything was pretty relaxed, and easy to get together this year, and it felt good. We didn’t need a slew of shopping trips for new clothes, they had what they needed. We bought them new runners earlier in the summer and they were perfect for the school year. We had food in the house for easy lunches, and they had enough supplies to start off this season with ease.

It wasn’t always that way. Of course not!  Our first day of school was the hardest. I wrote about that here. To read how we organized things to run smoothly, I have a post on Getting Ready Tips. But now, we are in a new age, a new understanding and a new maturity for the school season and it all fit together smoothly.

I had seen a few posts here and there on social media about crying for the little kid that is now growing up, or just feeling horrible for that big transition for the first day back. I had many ‘first days’ like that. As a stay-at-home working mama, coming home to an empty house that first day can be rough! But again, this time, I was doing alright. We had a really lovely summer; we did activities together, we loosened up on our restrictions for family and friend visits so we got to spend time with people again…all good.

But this morning, after I had taken the first day of school picture of my three boys, after I had driven them to school and chatted with them about this new year, only after all that did something happen that made me cry.

I was driving down a residential road, just minutes away from our home, and I noticed a smaller woman, standing rigidly at the edge of her driveway and the sidewalk. Her back was to me so I couldn’t see what she was doing, until I drove closer. She was very discretely holding her phone tight to her chest with both her hands, in order to take a stable picture. I looked forward and in the distance was a young girl, a teenager, headed to school, backpack and lunch box, off to catch the city bus.

And I balled.

Friends, sometimes it takes seeing something, or in this case, someone else going through a similar milestone to hit us right in the feels. Or at least that was the case for me. Did that daughter accept a ‘back-to-school’ photo in front of their house, or was this the best picture this mom was going to get today, now that her child was older? Or did this mom just want to hold on to one last moment and snap it for her own personal keepsake as her daughter was off to take a city bus to school alone for the first time? Who knows? It doesn’t really matter if any of these scenarios were right of not, just the action of a mother sneaking a picture of her now older child was the treasure that got me. Mamas, this is an emotional time for us as well as our children.

Transitions are hard. Back-to-school season is hard. Treasure every moment you can in whatever way you can to help move into this new time of year. We decided to start a brand-new tradition – we ordered one of their favourite meals for dinner (and one we rarely get) the night before school started. It was appreciated, more relaxed for me and delicious! We talked about the summer and all the things we enjoyed, and we talked about the new year and the exciting and stressful things on their mind. I also managed to get a first day of school photo of my three boys, smiling, together in a picture this morning. It is absolutely a treasure for me.

Whatever year of “back to school” you are in, I wish you and your children a safe, healthy, and happy start to a new school year.

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