In the meantime, in addition to this being a New Year's of sorts for me, the beginning of the school year is also my time to take stock and be floored by how freaking grown-up my kids are.
This is Brynna:
This kid... I just cannot with this kid. She is so smart, so beautiful, so funny, so creative and so freakin' stubborn. She wants to be exactly who she is and she won't take no for an answer. She was actually upset the other day because so many people have told her how creative she is this summer. And, although she sees herself as an artist and a writer, she doesn't want people to see her as only creative. She wants the world to know everything she has to offer.
When she started first grade, we got a lot of pushback. A lot of people (family, friends and teachers united) told us that she was too young and we should keep her back a year. She was five when she walked, full of trepidation into that first grade classroom, after all and everyone seemed to agree that she would struggle. Last year, when she walked out of fourth grade, holding a certificate for high class average in nearly every subject, there was a part of me that wanted to take them personally to everyone who had ever doubted her.
And this year, in her perfectly coordinated outfit, model-worthy haircut and first ever LL Bean backpack, she walked into fifth grade like she owned the place. And, she does. Queen of the school, I keep telling her. She's earned it.
This is Maren:
She started a day earlier than Brynna, because, like Brynna, she's the queen of the school this year, too. She is the only returning student from last year's extended day class, so she's almost an assistant for these first few days, getting everyone acclimated and teaching the younger students how Montessori works and where the rugs go and how to walk with your hands behind your back.
This is a role she was born for. Even though she's been shy going to school, nervous about getting back into the classroom and meeting the new kids, she's a natural nurturer. There is not a day that goes by that Maren doesn't find someone or something to try to take care of. She is compassionate and sweet; a peacemaker with a warrior spirit. (And sometimes warrior hands, I mean, she can really go at her sister when she wants to.)
This is officially her Kindergarten year and she is already reading really well, doing addition and subtraction and generally looking way smarter than her precious five years. (This time around, the school system dictated starting first grade at six.)
She is, in short, the sweetest kind of trouble I can imagine. And I know I am in for all kinds of trouble with her.
These are my girls, laughing at silly momma and her silly camera:
Someday I'll send them to middle school, to high school, even to college. Someday I'll cry when they walk down an aisle. On days like this, packing them up and sending them out into the world, someday doesn't seem so very far away. But I can hold on pretty tight and I will always be holding onto these girls.