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first day of school, back to school, the different kinds of moms you meet on the first day of school, letting go

How can it already be the first day of school? This morning my girls went back to school and, honestly, I am not ok with it. Usually, by this point in the summer, I am ready for them to go back to school. We all begin to get a little bored with one another and crave our routine but not today.

This morning, I wanted to sleep in and cuddle a little longer. I wanted my morning pile in. I wanted brunch and long conversations about nothing. I wanted to watch all the cheesy horror movies and rom coms together. I wanted a few more lazy days of togetherness. I wanted it to be harder for them to go but it wasn’t. It was one of the easiest mornings we’ve ever had.

We just got back from a relaxing RV beach vacation in Cape Hatteras on Monday. Tuesday, I took the girls to get their new back to school/big girl haircuts and pick up some back to school supplies. Yesterday, we had a lazy girl’s day with grandma and today, I swear my girls aged 3 years since we returned from vacation. I’m not joking, I’m positive Bella grew 2 inches this week because she’s at least 2 inches taller than me now and she wasn’t last week.

I used to write about wanting to collapse in the kindergarten corridor because all the new moms were doing it. Misery enjoys company and if everyone else is doing it, well, there’s no shame in assuming the fetal position and sobbing like a baby.  Then I moved on to doing a sort of ninja warrior sprint through the kindergarten hallway to get to my slightly older girls’ classrooms.

READ ALSO: Why 3rd Grade Sucks and I prefer the Weeping Mothers of K-2

By last year, I was cocky. I wasn’t crying. I was thrilled about the sound of silence that fills an empty house. I even brazenly walked my girls, right past those collapsed moms, stepping over the one by one, chest puffed out as I walked my girls to the middle school corridor. I walked them into their classes and kissed them just because I could. I knew they wanted to run rather than let the other kids see but unfortunately for them, years of being the cool room mom have made my presence always acknowledged by the kids.

But this morning, my big girls with their long legs and new hairstyles didn’t need me to walk them in. There was no box full of Kleenex and disinfectant wipes to use as an excuse so I dropped them in the drop off line like all the other parents. Both of them in the middle school corridor this year.

I would have been fine except the Big Guy, who obviously hates me when he kissed us each goodbye this morning told the girls to have a great first day. Bella, my eighth grader, said, “Nah, it’s going to be boring.” because that’s what eighth graders do because they are actually too cool for school. To which my brilliant and cruel husband responded, “Well, enjoy it kiddo because next year it’s off to high school for you.” Then, he left and I fell down dead. He killed me and I’m sure he didn’t think twice or even realize that I am wounded.

READ ALSO: The First Day of Kindergarten

So instead of dropping my girls off this morning and doing my happy dance for uninterrupted work time and no more background noise of tween/teen bickering, I dropped my girls off with a swift kiss and an I love you. I think my voice may have even cracked as I swallowed hard to compose myself. I don’t think they even noticed and that’s what I want. Independent, happy young ladies who face every new day and challenge like it’s an adventure. I let go and it freaking hurt. Hey, what’s going on? This isn’t kindergarten.

I won’t lie, I thought of pulling into the primary parking lot and taking a stroll into the kindergarten corridor to be among my people this morning because I could have used a good fetal position ugly cry. The girls would have never known. Instead, I came home and wrote a sad post about letting go when you don’t want to and holding on for as long as you can. But eventually, we all have to let go. And damn it, next year there’s high school. I wonder if they have a secret freshman mom hallway where I can ugly cry? Well, you know me, where there’s a will there’s a way. If there isn’t one, I’ll make one.

Happy first day of school moms.

Whether you are celebrating or sobbing, you’re doing it right and don’t get too cocky, motherhood is not a straight line. There is an unexpected ebb and flow to it. Some days you are on top of the world and other days, you are in desperate need of life’s kindergarten corridors.

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school uniforms, little girls, body image, private school, self-esteem,

Have you ever thought about how our daughters’ self-esteem and body image could be affected by the school uniforms or dress code policy? Sounds crazy, right? I mean isn’t that the entire purpose of school uniforms in the first place, to level the playing field; to equalize all children and neutralize all social hierarchy? Isn’t a dress code to keep kids comfortable and tidy.

I have daughters, who have to wear school uniforms. There is no option. I thought this was a great idea when we started school but now, I think it’s stifling and worse, I think it’s causing some damage to my tween’s self-esteem and worse, her body image. It’s bad enough that they are not allowed to even look like girls; no ruffles, no frills or even pale pink polish because it might be “distracting” to boys but now we are even making the clothes to fit like a boy. Someone once told me that I should cut my daughters’ hair because they “read somewhere” that long hair is conducive to rape. I said, no why don’t women teach their sons not to be rapists and to respect women and their bodies. Why should my daughter have to look like a boy so your son doesn’t get any ideas? Why do the girls have to be punished?

But how are school uniforms destroying little girls’ body image, you ask?

This year, it has become almost impossible to find anything that fits my child and believe me; I have tried all the stores and all the sizes. I’m frustrated; my poor daughter is beside herself. She had a growth spurt over the summer and suddenly all of her clothes are too short and tight. So, since I don’t want to send my child to school looking all “Hulk Smash” I decided to try to just buy her some bigger clothes. Makes sense, right? WRONG!

You see, I’ve noticed that for the last few years, the girls’ uniform pants that we bought at Children’s Place were made slightly different than boy uniform pants. It was the little details like a little spandex mixed with the cotton so that the pants could bend and mold to a little girl’s body. Also, little girls’ pants were slightly flared for aesthetics and had a cute little ribbon belt. The pants were perfect. My children have been wearing them for years.

But this year, with all the let’s eliminate labels like “boys” and “girls” campaigns being on trend, nothing fits. It’s not my imagination. They have actually stopped making the pants we previously bought and have gone to a more streamlined look, that happen to look exactly like the boys’ pants. Let’s put it this way, my waif like 8 –year-old who almost blows away with a strong gust of wind and typically wears a size 6X/7 had to buy a size 10, in order to fit.

My poor 10-year-old who typically wears a 12 or a 14 depending on the length of the pants, literally, could not find a pair of pants that fit her in the length and waist. Either they swallowed her whole or fit in the waist but were up to her knees or in one particular worst case scenario, we had to try on a size 14 that was tight on her waist and her butt and then we found out it was a mislabeled 10. With tears in her eyes in the dressing room, she looked at me and said, “Mommy, I just want to be normal. I just want pants that fit to wear to school!” I’ve only noticed this in uniforms, but of course, that’s all I’ve shopped for recently.

My heart broke into one million pieces because I saw every single woman that has come before her and every single little girl that will come after her if we don’t do something to change this NOW! There is plenty of time for her to feel like shit about herself because the fashion and style industry do not cater to normal sized women and they surely don’t cater to tall women, who are neither anorexic or plus sized. Our options are crying in the dressing room while trying to either starve ourselves into see thru micro mini everything, wearing muumuus or dressing like a man. Why do we have to dress according to them? And who the f*ck are they anyways?

Isn’t it enough that our daughters are bombarded by images on television and in the media of starving women as our standard of beauty, now my 10-year-old and 8-year-old are being told their bodies are wrong by fucking uniform pants. And by the way, if there was ever proof that the patriarchy is in charge, just look at a school uniform policy. It is made to inflict embarrassment and shatter self-image by making every little girl feel as ugly and plain as possible.

This is my plea, manufacturers and designers of little girls’ school uniforms

Please stop making school uniforms cut to give our elementary school aged girls doubt in themselves and their bodies.

My daughters are perfect and healthy and beautiful and in one shopping trip, fashion has planted a seed of doubt. I saw her face. I know that look…

 If only I could lose 5 pounds, I could fit into those pants!

I didn’t ever want to see that look in her eyes; that partial disgust and doubt of her own body.

It had nothing to do with wanting to be fashionable and every thing to do with just wanting to be normal and wear pants that fit. Why are we allowing the fashion industry to destroy the self-esteem and body image that we have worked so hard to instill in our girls? We pay for these clothes, shouldn’t they be made to fit our bodies not the other way around? The fashion industry works for us.

What are your thoughts on vanity sizing and unisex cuts in girls’ school uniforms?

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seattle school shooting,Bremerton Washington, Amina Bowman, Armin Jahir Elementary, NRA, gun discharge

Throat Punch Thursday,Seattle, school shooting, Washington, Amina Kocer-Bowman,  Armin Jahr Elementary School

Seattle school shooting

Seattle School Shooting ~ You read that right. In case you weren’t already terrified enough of letting your kids out of your sight after Anders Behring Breivik or Levi Aron, nothing like a Seattle school shooting to remind you. According to Bremerton police, Wednesday, 2/22/12, a gun was brought to a Armin Jahr Elementary, in a 9 year old’s backpack.

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Middle Class Mom Private School Kid CoVid Problems.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Not saying CoVid and this pandemic are issues especially hard for middle class moms with private school kids but not saying it isn’t either. I’ve noticed that, at least from my viewpoint, public schools are doing more to stop the spread. Public schools are funded by the government and are more likely to follow government guidelines and recommendations because they are cognizant that not doing so can end in losing funding. Private schools on the other hand are funded by donors, usually wealthy alumni who gift large sums of money, often with “suggestions.” What I’m saying is that if you think super-rich kids are terrible, well, you’ve never experienced their entitled parents firsthand.

They don’t like to be told what to do. It infringes upon “their freedom” so they will scream white at the top of their lungs while staring directly at a black wall. If you disagree, you are not right, you are obviously blind because you chose to believe your own eyes over what they tell you. This is the situation.

Middle Class Mom Private School Kid CoVid Problems.

Science and research show that vaccines, masks and social distancing are the way to end the pandemic. Some people at private schools say none of it exists and refuse to allow their children to follow guidelines for a “political pandemic” created by the liberals to make us all sheeple. After all, this is MURICA! Caught right in the middle of it all, the faculty and administration just trying to do the right thing by humankind without alienating the very people who pay their salaries.

Omicron is here and making my life more difficult than ever. I hate pandemic parenting because I’m terrified to send my kids to school. Let me start by saying that this whole pandemic has been a lesson in versatility, patience and pushing past fear. It’s enough already. I give. I’ve learned my lesson. I wash my hands religiously, I prioritize people and I live like every day could be my last, because it could be but my breaking point seems to be when I live in a world where others are pretending that none of this is real. People are dying and where I live, people are pretending that nothing is wrong. People are dying and nothing is wrong? Is this logical to anyone reading this? If so, please help it make sense because I can’t and it’s literally making me feel insane.

At this point, my family has been vaccinated and boostered, except Gabi who will get hers this week as soon as I can get her an appointment. We rarely go anywhere. With Omicron we are actually reverting to our March 2020 hermit lives. We wear masks in public and we social distance when possible. We wash our hands and change our outside clothes. We disinfect everything. In our state, we are in the minority.

At our daughters’ school, there are no preventative CoVid safety measures in place this year other than CDC guideline quarantining for the minimum 5 days if exposed and showing symptoms. But there is no social distancing or mask policy in place. There is no vaccination requirement. So every day, my rational and intelligent girls who have common sense go to school knowing they are 100% exposed. This is not okay.

Middle Class Mom Private School Kid CoVid Problems.

They are under so much stress (as any rational/ thinking person would be) that they have now both developed severe stress and anxiety due to the mishandling of the pandemic. They are kids who should be doing kid things but instead they are worried they are going to die or kill someone else because the adults are dropping the ball. The adults in charge are neither caring or protecting our children from Coronavirus, Delta or Omicron. They’re just seeing how this all plays out and that’s just not working for me anymore.

The other day I was driving to pick my daughters up from school and the truck ahead of me had a bumper sticker that read, “Unmask Our Kids Now.” In my head I heard, “unhand my mother” or “Free Nelson Mandela” only it wasn’t about saving anyone. In fact, quite the opposite. It basically read, “Societal rules don’t apply to me because I’m a selfish toddler who doesn’t care about anyone else but me and it’s my right to do whatever I want.”

You see, all over the country, friends of mine are taking their 5-11-year-olds to get their vaccination. In fact, they went on the very first day of eligibility, some of them drove to neighboring cities and even states, just to do their part to help end this pandemic. I’m elated. We took our girls as soon as they were eligible. Now, we’re getting them boostered because that is what all of us should be doing to end this pandemic. Was I nervous about giving my daughters a brand new vaccination? Yes. But I’m more afraid of CoVid and the long-term effects of Coronavirus.

There are still adults who haven’t gotten 1 shot yet. Y’all should be ashamed. You’d probably jump in the lifeboats ahead of the women and children too, am I right? Come on, this is embarrassing, America. Be a grown-up and do your part. Yes, I know, you don’t believe in CoVid but he believes in you and if you’re just going to live your life like you’re pursuing happiness, Consequences be damned, YOU WILL GET COVID. Regardless if you believe or not.

Middle Class Mom Private School Kid CoVid Problems.

So here we are. My daughter has missed 30 days of in-person school. I’d say at least 20 of those days were mandatory quarantines from exposure or from having “symptoms” like coughing or sore throat. I did it because even though they were vaccinated, the rules are in place to protect all of us. Also, the girls have caught a few viruses this year (as expected when reentering public places after 17 months of isolation) and pre-CoVid if my children were sick, I kept them home to protect others from catching it and to let my girls rest and recuperate. But suddenly, CoVid is the only acceptable reason for an absence.

Here’s where the real frustration comes into play, aside from kids at school chastising those who are vaccinated and/or wearing masks now the administration is questioning whether or not my daughters are “really sick” or just “don’t want to be there” when I call my daughters in sick. This began after we made them aware of the mental health struggles our girls are dealing with (as are most intelligent adults and teens). Talk about minimizing mental health. What else did I expect from a place that literally had a speaker come in and tell the kids that depression is evil and they need to pray away their mental health issues? Look, I’m all for leaning on God for strength when you feel helpless but to make it a character flaw to seek mental health help is something entirely different altogether.

Honestly, I didn’t write this post to complain about my kids’ school, I’m simply frustrated and exhausted from all of this. My daughter’s been vomiting and nauseous for the past 36 hours. Obviously, I can’t send her into a school like that nor would I send a child who is feeling that terrible into school. I called the attendance office and explained and braced myself for the inevitable call from the school nurse telling us we’d need a negative CoVid test to return, even with being vaccinated and boostered. Can I just mention that we’ve had to get so many CoVid tests in the past 2 years that the pharmacy techs at our local CVS know us by name now? It’s embarrassing. All that aside, I did get the call for the nurse but not before I got the call from the Vice Principal telling me that we “need to have a meeting to discuss her attendance”. It’s the first day of the new semester, what is there to talk about? She.Is. SICK. End of the story.   

Middle Class Mom Private School Kid CoVid Problems.

I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do. My first priority is to keep my girls healthy, happy and alive. ALIVE. At this point, I’m getting as afraid of their depression and anxiety as I am of CoVid. No child should have to feel so hopeless and helpless. I spend many nights a week reassuring my daughters that we can get through this. Holding them while they cry about what they’ve lost and the normal teen experience that they simply cannot have right now. They are missing normal human connection and being able to attend school safely. Every day they feel under threat and I don’t blame them. So I advocate for them, reassure them, hold them and love them as much and as unconditionally as I can but it’s hard when I’m just as stressed, anxious and depressed as they are.

Update: Day 2 of vomiting and nausea, they are requiring a doctor’s note or fax saying the doctor doesn’t need to see her in order to excuse the absences. Even the pediatrician is like, it hasn’t even been 48 hours, she’s not dehydrated and she’s not running a fever coming in would be more dangerous than waiting it out. They can’t even do anything for a stomach bug. FML.

What would you do in my situation? What are you doing to not only protect your family from CoVid Omicron but all the long-term side effects of surviving a pandemic in a world where conspiracy theorists and CoVid deniers pretend nothing is wrong and none of this is real?

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Catholic school girl, nun

Catholic school girl gone Nun~ Is this something that I should be concerned with? I enrolled my little girls in Catholic school because 1) we are Catholic and I loved the spiritual aspect of it 2) I believe faith is instilled not learned 3) the test scores are substantially higher at the Catholic school compared to the public school she would be attending 4) the uniforms are A.dor.able!!!Everyone knows that. But I’ve been noticing that there is a kind of catholic school girl mentality that is seeping in…almost taking over my little girl. Everything is Jesus this and God made me that, which, don’t get me wrong, is sweet but my little catholic school girl seems to be metamorphosing into a little nun. That scares me a little bit.

catholic school girl

This is a Good Catholic School Girl

I am very happy that my little catholic school girl is so spiritual and finds such comfort in religion. The other day, she brought home a picture that she had drawn and it read, “God Created me!”. To which I replied, “Well, I think Daddy and I had something to do with it too. But yes, God did  bless us with you.” Her reply, ” Mommy, it wasn’t you. It was God.” She was resolute in her answer and that was that. I fully suspect that every time she does anything these days, save for beat on her little sister, she first asks herself…What WOULD Jesus do? I find it absolutely fabulous that she is concerned with the moral ramifications of what she does on a daily basis.  I am very proud of her. She is learning her prayers and hymns. Today, she sang in the church choir and presented the wine to the Father. I have never seen her look so proud. Even when she got her part in the Nutcracker last year , she wasn’t this excited. I couldn’t help but puff out my chest a bit and think to myself, Look at my kid. She is amazing. I understood that whole holier than thou saying.

Amazing little Catholic School Girl

But then she came home and set up a prayer station and insists that I must use her vial of holy water , that she brought home, to cross myself each night before our prayers. I suppose that it could be worse, she could go all Angelina on me and carry around a vial of blood. Yes. I did just say that my 6 year old carries around a vial of holy water like a drunk carries a flask of whiskey on his person at all times. I think this may be a bit extreme. Or perhaps, my little catholic school girl is planning on battling Vampires while I sleep. Or maybe she’s just trying to prove her theory that I am, in fact, a witch. Will I melt? Will I not melt? Who knows. Either way, how can I argue with my little girl when she devoutly kneels in front of her makeshift prayer station and prays for her Daddy to return safely from his business trip or for or house to sell. My little girl really is amazing. She’s certainly a better person than I am. But I can’t help being a little concerned about the accelerated speed at which she is embracing her faith. I fear that by next year she will be choosing her ordination habit.

Have you ever experienced this? Am I the only one? Am I over analyzing? I mean, honestly, I should be thrilled that she is embracing something positive, right? This is what I wanted. I think. I wanted my children to be spiritual and have a solid foundation in their faith. I guess I just never realized just how young children are when they start becoming who they will be. I don’t know how I feel about that. It’s like ringing a bell. You can’t un-ring it. I guess I just thought I had more time before she chose her path in life but I feel like she’s already forming opinions and beliefs and that is amazing and a little bit scary to me. My little catholic school girl is growing up so fast.

 

Catholic school girl, nun

Extreme Catholic School Girl

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What to do if your child is threatened, school shooting, Run, hide, fight

What to do if your child is threatened at school? We don’t like to think about things like active shooters or bombings, do we? We’d like to believe that we know what we’d do. We’d protect our children, at all costs. But the truth is you have no idea how you would react if your child is threatened. I didn’t. It’s one of those fight or flight circumstances, you either run away and hide or you fight tooth and nail to keep your child safe in the situation. The intention is the same; save the child.

My fourth grader came home last Friday from school and said, “Mommy, I got this creepy note from school.” She threw the note at me from the back seat. I was expecting some weird cryptic message from some fellow student at school but that wasn’t what she got at all. Our school had come under threat from one of the children who attended the school and none of us were told until after the fact.

I was mad and terrified at the same time because how are you supposed to know what to do if your child is threatened? How do you protect your child from unseen or unanticipated dangers?

It was a letter from the school, alerting the parents that there had been a “situation” a “THREAT” at the school. We all know that is code for a Columbine/ Sandy Hook situation in the making. For a moment, I lost it…very quietly in my head because even though I was terrified, I couldn’t scare my children. They have to go to that place every day and they need to feel safe even if I don’t. I told them very little about the note. They just know there was an incident.

My daughters live in a very different world from the one I grew up in. I didn’t have drills to practice in case a “polar bear” got loose in the building and went on a “growling” spree. My mom’s last words to me every morning before school as she kissed me goodbye were not, “Love you! Remember if a “polar bear” gets in the building…bob and weave. Never run in a straight line!” We didn’t have to know active shooter protocol or what the acronym REHF meant. That’s run, escape, hide and fight for those of you who are not preparing for “polar bears” bearing down your hallways with an AK47s by the way.

I mean, what the hell is that? But it’s one of those things I need to say. Just like its compulsory that both of my children take their iPhones to school “in case of emergency” like the emergency that happened to Eddie Justice in the bathroom of the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando.

At school board meetings we have to discuss things like escape windows, bulletproof screens and hurricane doors to keep the danger out. We have security measures in place in case a strange “polar bear” shows up to terrorize our children but what about when there is a “polar bear” in student’s clothing? How do we protect our children from the unseen threats?

I’m not going to lie, the note and the intended threat that prompted it have shaken me as a mom. Every morning that I drop my kids off at school, I don’t want to. What if today is the day that a child makes good on an assumed idol threat? What if it wasn’t “just a threat”? What if it was a promise? What if it was a cry for help that went unnoticed? What if this is the last time I see my child alive?

I’ve had a knot in the pit of my stomach now for a week because we were not given all the facts. How could we be? It concerns a minor. We have to trust that the school is doing all that it can to protect our children from threats and polar bears and crazy people with guns. It’s hard to trust in others to protect your children in today’s world.

Of course, as a parent, the thought of someone putting our babies in danger is cause for pitchforks and rioting. We are all very upset. Why wasn’t school canceled? Why were we not told until the end of the day by way of a “creepy note”. Why would a child tell other children maliciously that they are “on my list”? What do we do? Where do we go from here?

The child was suspended which is what I consider a time-out. Not expelled, not ordered to compulsory psychiatric treatment but given the legally mandated slap on the wrist and called a bad boy.

I don’t know who the kid is and I don’t know what he might be going through. It might all be terrible and maybe he deserves my compassion and understanding but when it’s my child who is being put in danger, that all goes out the window. I am not reasonable when you threaten the most important thing in my world. I am outraged. I am mad. I want to feel secure again but I can’t.

But I pretend that I am for my girls. I teach my kids what to do in case of an emergency. I send them with their phones and tell them to bob and weave. I hug them tight and kiss them goodbye every single morning knowing that this could be the last time I see them while acting like everything is alright; like this is normal. Because this is our new normal.

I just want my daughters to be safe and less vulnerable when they are at school; when they are anywhere. What are my options? Put them in a bubble? Homeschool? Hide them away and make them think the world is a fairytale where everything and everyone is good? To lie to them?

I can’t, no matter how much I may want to because the world is not any of those things and I don’t want them to spend their lives hiding from life. I want them to explore, be carefree and adventurous. I want them to embrace all that life has to offer and you can’t do that from inside the safety of a prison of your mom’s making. So, I send them out into the world every day prepared (unknowingly) for the worst, hoping for the best and (me) praying for survival.

No matter how much we want to believe it, we cannot protect our children when they are outside of our care. We can only teach them to survive and advocate for their safety. I’m not trying to scare you. I know we are all already living with this fear. I just wanted you to know that it’s not just something that happens someplace else to someone else’s child.

Do you know what to do if your child is threatened from someone inside the school?

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first day of high school, high school, back to school. teenagers

Nothing could have prepared me for my daughter’s first day of high school. I expected there to change. Even expected there to be stress and nervous energy. Definitely, did not expect the first day of high school to be harder than the first day of kindergarten. It was so much worse.

I not the mom who cried in the kindergarten corridor, my girls are stoic. They’re independent and they suck it up. They get that from their daddy. I’m highly emotional. I do suck it up but I always give myself permission to feel my feelings.

READ ALSO: Kindergarten, the beginning of the end

All summer Bella’s joked that she wants to be homeschooled. She’s wanted to be homeschool since about 2nd grade. Due to demanding dance schedules, Bella’s ballet friends are homeschooled. I never put much weight in it because I work from home. I’ve taught and had classroom time. But teaching your own child is something different entirely so my answer has always been a firm no.

But this summer, she wouldn’t drop it. I assumed she was getting nervous for the change to high school. After all, she’s been at the same school since 1st grade. But on that first morning, she was overcome with fear and begged me to not make her go.

READ ALSO: The Different Kinds of Moms You Meet on the First Day of School

Do you have any idea how hard that was for me? I’m very close to my girls. We’re a small family, just the 4 of us and they really are my best friends ( I know it’s not cool to say that but in our case, it is true). I don’t say no very often to things they really want. Things yes but not asks of me as a mom. This morning, I had to stand strong and push my baby bird out of the nest, for her own good.

As moms, I think most of us would love to just keep our little ones snuggled up near us forever but that’s not what’s best for them. How can I expect her to be a functioning good human being when I let her shy away from everything that scares her?

The entire car ride to school, she was silently holding back tears. I saw it. I didn’t acknowledge it because, just like when they are toddlers and you make a deal about a booboo, that’s the moment the histrionics begin. I was trying to be stoic because, confession, I am totally the mom who kisses all the booboos and makes a big deal. But I needed to be strong for her.

READ ALSO: Slipping through my Fingers

About a block from the school, we were stopped in traffic and she could see the cars lining up to make the street cross at the yield sign. She could see all the other freshman and realized that she knew none of them. I heard the whimpering as she stifled her cries. My heart broke into a zillion pieces. Be strong, Debi. You can do this. Do it for Bella She needs you. This is not about you. Do NOT fall apart woman. Not turning the car went against all of my mommy instincts.

There we were in the car at drop off on her first official morning of high school. This day was just for incoming freshman. I love that. The student ambassadors were standing outside lining the drop off lanes, holding banners welcoming the new students. Cheerleaders were cheering. Teachers were standing at attention with full-faced smiles. Even the school mascot was standing outside giving out free hugs. I felt comfortable dropping her off in this situation.

I turned to the passenger seat and there say my baby, my firstborn, sobbing from fear of the unknown and no amount of reassurance was going to fix this but neither was letting her not face it. It was now. This was her moment. It was also a really hard parenting moment because I confess, all I wanted to do was grab her in my arms, peel outta there and take her home with me and make it all better. Instead, holding back tears behind my giant Gucci sunglasses, I grabbed her hand, told her that I loved her, kissed her cheek and told her to have the best day. ” I’ll see you soon.”

first day of high school, high school, back to school. teenagers

Looking back at me with her cheetah spotted face, through blubbering from sheer panic and fear, she said, “I hate you, mom.” I knew she didn’t mean it. I knew that was her way of letting me know how very hard this moment was for her. This was her being scared and clinging to anything that would get me to stop the trajectory of our morning. She wanted off. She wanted out. She was terrified and I was the only thing that stood between her and the comfort of how things were.

I cried all the way home. I felt like the worst mom in the history of the world. I felt like I had abandoned her at the moment she needed me most. But I know that I did the right thing because it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I had to walk away when my daughter metaphorically had her hands outstretched to me, begging me to rescue her. Instead, I gently pushed her out of the nest. I’m not sure how I’m going to survive when she goes away to college.

READ ALSO:  Only 9 more Summers

That’s the thing about being a parent, we have to love them so much that we do what’s best for them, even when it breaks our hearts. We have to let them go, even when all we want to do is hold them tight. We have to love them so hard that they see themselves the way we do. We lift them up, give them courage and self-confidence when they are at their most vulnerable. We watch from the sidelines, with no glory or fanfare, being their biggest cheerleaders for all of their lives. We love them enough to convince them to see that they are as wonderful as we’ve always known they were…since that moment they were first placed upon our chest the moment they were born. As a parent, it’s our responsibility to give our children the best possible education that would cater to their needs and future goals. In fact, you can opt to learn more about best high schools in Raleigh, NC.

What was your child’s first day of school like this year?

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florida school shooting, gun control, alan feis, Nikolas Cruz, Parkland Florida, High School shooting

Yesterday, 17 unsuspecting students and adults, including Aaron Feis, were murdered in a South Florida school shooting massacre by 19 -year-old, Nikolas Cruz. Gun control failed us again. The gunman, Nikolas Cruz, 19, pulled the fire alarm shortly before 3 pm at his former high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. As the students and faculty exited the building, he started shooting at them like fish in a barrel. But that wasn’t enough for Nikolas, he followed the people running back inside for cover and targeted those huddled in classrooms hiding. Then, he blended in with the students exiting and evacuated the school. He was arrested later that day in Coral Springs.

They’re calling it the “Florida School Shooting” to differentiate it from the other recent school shootings because they happen so frequently now. This is how we measure life and death now, by geographical location. Quick somebody drop a pin so we know where to send the SWAT team next. I’m not being funny. I am utterly disgusted at how little life means to the people of this country. We’ve done nothing since Sandy Hook. Gun control is still the same shit show it ever was.

You know, the world makes fun of helicopter moms but we’re just being rational in an irrational world. How are we ever supposed to let our children go out into the world without worrying ourselves into an early grave? No wonder so many people homeschool now because at least there you can keep your child safe. Thank God for men like Aaron Feis.

Are you there God? Where were you on Ash Wednesday 2018 when 17 people were murdered by a disgruntled ex-student, Nikolas Cruz in the Florida School shooting? What makes a person hate the world so much that they want to kill anyone and everyone that is not as miserable as they are? Don’t tell me mental illness. It’s meanness. It’s calculated. It’s evil and its people killing people with guns because they can because everywhere you turn guns are readily available. If you can’t buy the gun you want, you can buy a gun and modify it. If they won’t sell you a gun because by some miracle your crazy ass is on a list, you can build it by buying parts on the Internet. Why is this not regulated?

Nikolas Cruz has been charged with 17 cases of premeditated murder. News at 11. It was said on one newscast so matter a factly that you would have thought they were talking about a baby monkey being born at the local zoo. What kind of world are we living in? Where is the outrage? Where are the grief-stricken parents of the living students with pitchforks and torches demanding that our government do something? I mean, of course without a whole lot of people make a whole lot of stink the government is not going to do shit because they got paid a whole lot of money not to.

Former classmates said they were not surprised at the identity of the suspected shooter. Cruz loved showing off guns, student Eddie Bonilla told CNN affiliate WFOR.

“We actually, a lot of kids threw jokes around Iike that, saying that he’s the one to shoot up the school, but it turns out everyone predicted it. It’s crazy,” Bonilla recalled.

Why did no one call the police on this kid? He was clearly exhibiting unstable behaviors.

Cruz had once been expelled from the high school over disciplinary problems, Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said.

 

He purchased the gun legally. He passed the background check. At 18 you can buy an assault-style weapon but you have to be 21 to buy a handgun. Let that sink in for a minute.

I find it interesting that as they were interviewing former classmates of Nikolas Cruz they were saying things like yeah, sure, Nikolas was the guy most likely to shoot up the school. He had lots of guns. The faculty at one point forbid him from carrying a backpack because of the fear that something exactly like this might happen. Yet, here we are. It happened and instead of anyone stopping him, they all just shake their head and go, we knew he’d do something like this. What the f*ck?

“This has been a day where we’ve seen the worst of humanity. Tomorrow is gonna bring out the best in humanity as we come together to move forward from this unspeakable tragedy,” Runcie said.

This is supposed to be our consolation. Humanity is going to be “better” for a few days.Celebrities are going to tweet out their prayers and condolences. Regular people are going to feign outrage without actually ever doing anything about it becoming themselves willing parts of the problem. Yeah, like the days and weeks after Sandy Hook. Nothing has changed. There are more school shootings than ever. I mean, what are the statistics for the likelihood of your child getting shot or murdered at school these days?

What’s worse, our government makes sure that these weapons are available because it’s a “constitutional right”. So when it’s your kid, or your wife or your husband or mom or dad who gets shot in the face and murdered just living their life tell me how important the freedom to have guns really is. I dare you to. I wouldn’t stand too close to me when you did it.

I keep seeing images of the teacher with ashes on her head, the hero Aaron Feis and a girl with a mylar balloon. It was probably one of the best days of this teen girl’s high school life and now, it will always be one of the worst days of her life. It’s traumatic and I think it’s the worst kind of monster who attacks people at their most vulnerable. Why do these shooters never open fire where there are trained people ready to protect themselves? Because they are cowards and they are afraid. They want to exact horror by murdering innocent, unsuspecting people because then they have the upper hand. Better yet, be a real man, come pick a fight…hand-to-hand with someone your own size and get your ass kicked the way it deserves to be. But they won’t because they are cowards of the worst kind.

But you know who are the bigger cowards? The politicians who allow the NRA to buy their votes. They value money over human life. Worse still the parents who fight for the right to bear arms and then send their children into the world to be slaughtered by people with guns. If not for yourself, do it for your children. Unless we are going to train and start sending every student to school with a weapon to protect themselves or impose real gun control, then we need to all be sterilized because I’d rather not bring a child into this world than to bring one into this world to be murdered by an NRA enthusiast.

We live in a world where every drop off good bye could be “the goodbye”. I know this. You know this. We choose our words more carefully. We hold tighter. We coddle. We spoil because any minute could be the minute someone sprays the hallways of the elementary school with bullets and paints the walls red with the blood of babies… our babies..my babies and your babies. Anyone’s babies because that is the truly scary part, no one is safe. Not even the child of a parent who is a staunch supporter of the NRA because a gunman with a semi-automatic weapon doesn’t stop to ask.

How do you explain to a parent who’s lost everything that your right to bear arms trumps their child’s right to life?

It feels like I’ve written this piece a few hundred times before because I think I have. Why have I? Why does this keep happening? Why does our government stand by and do nothing but come up with sound bites and excuses? Why do we the people accept this? When is enough too much? When it’s our own child whose tiny body lays limp and lifeless in the quad? When it’s our child who cowers and hides for hours as some person with a gun plays a sick game of hide and seek where if you’re found… you’re dead? When it’s your child, who even if they’re lucky enough to survive they are damaged forever. They are not the same child you sent to school that morning and that child may not have died but they are never coming back.

Nikolas Cruz, Parkland Florida, High School shooting

We live in a world where our children have to think fast enough to put their backpacks full of books on before running for their lives just to try to avoid getting shot in the spine. They have to remember to bob and weave. They have to stay silent and stifle tears and terror while their friend a foot away is shot dead in front of them. They have to play dead and pray the shooter doesn’t issue a kill shot to the head “just to be sure”.

Do something!! Stop waiting for your government to figure it out. Demand that they do something to protect our children. When is enough ever going to be enough? How many children have to be slaughtered in the streets, how much blood has to be on our hands before we have the balls to stand united and demand that there be stricter gun control and regulations on parts being bought? We need to make it impossible for everyone to get guns. It shouldn’t be a right, it should be a privilege and if you don’t earn it, you don’t deserve it. If you are not mentally equipped and stable enough to own and trained to operate a weapon, you should not be able to purchase one.

I know gun advocates like to say they need guns to protect themselves from intruders and government. To you I say, 1 you are more likely to be shot with your own gun from an intruder and 2, no gun can protect you from a corrupt government.

But amidst all of this horror, remember the victims like Football coach Aaron Feis who died while using his body to shield three female students. He threw himself in the line of fire to spare them. He suffered a gunshot wound and died after being rushed into surgery. The thing is he shouldn’t have had to die.

“He died the same way he lived — he put himself second,” Lehtio, a student and football team member, said. “He was a very kind soul, a very nice man. He died a hero.”

 

Don’t let the Florida School shooting and the lives of Aaron Feis and the other 16 people who died yesterday have been in vain. Take action. Demand our government to change our current gun control legislation.

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Thank you to Crocs for sponsoring this blog post. Please click here to learn more about Crocs’ new Back to School line. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.

It seems the least wonderful time of year is upon us, once more. You know the time I mean, back to school. It’s that magical time when the weather is still beautiful, the kids are just getting used to sleeping in and it is all abruptly interrupted so that we can run around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to find all of the items on the first of the year school supply scavenger hunt list. Next, we get to drag children, who would rather be anywhere else but where we are taking them ( preferably a beach somewhere), school shopping.

I have little girls and they typically love to shop. Though since starting down the path of uniform city, it is not as much fun as it once was for them. But fear not, what we lack in clothing diversification we make up for in adorableness; headbands, barrettes, ostentatious flowers, sassy socks and the most extensive elementary school shoe collection that I’ve ever seen. We love our shoes( like mother like daughters)!

We’ve successfully found the cutest uniform clothing we could find. We’ve completed the school supply scavenger hunt with the exception of the illusive art smock.We’ve bought bought our brand spanking new gym shoes. Next on the list, some funky Mary Janes,the coveted pair of cozy top-siders and ballerina flats. I’m sure we will be getting a pair (or two) of those (perfectly coordinated with our school’s uniforms)

Kelley Crocs!

My girls look forward to shopping for accessories and shoes the most because this is where they can show their personality.I let them go as big and bold as they want to. What is your child’s favorite part of school shopping, aside from spending the day with their Mom? Do they like to buy the funkiest or fanciest? Do they dress preppy or sporty? Or are they part of the uniform kids who have to get inventive and show their personalities through their accessories and shoes? What’s your favorite part of back-to-school shopping? If you are like me, it’s the spending the day with my 2 favorite girls one last time before they head back to school. I linger a little longer than necessary at every stop because I know these moments are not limitless, even if it is a pain in the rump wrestling other mother’s for 20 cent crayons. The smiles of pure joy at a perfect pair of shoes, or the smile I am met with when telling them how pretty a certain uniform top looks on them, or the “Thank’s Mommy” I get from buying them lunch at their favorite place in the mall; all these little things give back-to-school shopping a special place in my heart.

 

Crocs

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school stabbings, Alex Hribal, WTF America, Throat Punch Thursday, Unsafe America

School stabbings. School shootings. School bombings. Children molested by trusted adult. Nanny murders children. Mom drives minivan full of children into ocean. Terrorists bomb  the Boston marathon. Teenagers knock out unsuspecting adults for “fun”. Teens lure an unpopular teen out to some deserted place and kill him because they are bored. Kids cyber bullying kids to the point of suicide. Young girls get gang raped and videotaped while others watch. WTF America? Does anyone else feel like the world has become the unsafest place in the universe? The world used to feel safer; more innocent. Less cynical. It seems that lately no one is safe, anywhere. Unfortunately, as people are no,t as of ye,t living on Mars, this is all we’ve got.

When I was a child, we played outside until the streetlights came on. We rode our bikes up and down the block with no supervision. We walked to school with a group of friends. Our parents trusted our friends’ parents and people were kinder to one another. There was a modicum of respect for human life. It wasn’t perfect, we had serial killers and we were cautious. Sure, there were assholes. There always are but for the most part, when you let your kids out of the house to go to school or left them with a babysitter, you weren’t afraid that it was the last time you’d ever see them.

The other day, I saw a video from 1987. It was a group of 18-year-old guys in Orlando at a convenience store with their camera asking strangers questions. Actual strangers interacting with one another, no smart ass comments, no knock out game, no bullying, no bullshit..just simple human communication. There was no real point to this video. It was just a rare snippet into an innocuous moment in history before every moment was documented. It made me nostalgic for those days before whatever this is happened. If you tried that same thing now, you would be ignored or worse, assaulted.

There were no school stabbings. You used your words.

When I was a teenager, back in the 80’s, high school boys would call high school girls that they didn’t even know because they had seen them in the hallways or a friend told a friend about so and so, actual human interaction.  Yes, boys would actually cold call girls on a landline telephone. Start a fucking conversation and try to impress her, maybe even ask for a date. Hell, some guys would even pull up after school and offer you a ride home. If the girl liked him, more often than not, girls would take the ride or at the very least give him her phone number. Sounds crazy, right? Sounds like something that would give me a heart attack if my daughters did that today.  Back then, either there was not so much danger or we just didn’t know about it because there was no social media and Internet. I miss those days. I miss my ignorant bliss in a time when people knew what consequences were.

I am sad that my girls live in a world where they will never fully know trust in another human being. They will never not be exposed and bombarded by social media. I am sad that they might never know the butterflies that you get when a boy who likes you walks over to you and makes adorably awkward conversation because now it’s all text and social media and there is nothing “adorably awkward” about a teen boy’s penis in a sext or finding out your hotness rating on some website. The world has become to in-your-face for my liking. It’s abrasive and feels unsafe to me.

Yesterday morning, Alex Hribal, a 16-year-old at a Pennsylvania High School went on a stabbing and slashing spree for no apparent reason. At 7:15 in the morning, he ran through the hallways slashing and stabbing anyone he could get; 22 people in 5 minutes. His attorney says that he is “confused, scared and depressed”. Yeah, well, guess what? Who gives a shit what he is. His time for fucking counseling is over. The only ones who have a right to be confused, scared and depressed are his vicitms…the American people that this asshole has made feel, once again, unsafe in their own homes.

I am so sick of the Alex Hribal, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Adam Lanza and James Holmes of the world. So they were a little weird and misunderstood. So fucking what? We’ve all been an outcast at some point or another. We’ve all felt alone but that doesn’t give you the right to take it out on innocent people. They say he might have a mental illness. Get therapy. Take your meds. Talk to your parents. Change your life but don’t take other people’s children with you because you’re having a fucking bad day! Many of us have mental illness but most of us don’t go batshit crazy and try to kill everyone in sight.

We live in a world where every single morning when I drop my little girls off at school and watch them walk toward the school hand-in-hand, I get a knot in my stomach and pray (literally PRAY) that this is not the last time that I see them. How twisted is that?

Something has got to change. We can’t unring the technology bell that has gotten us to this point. We can’t make people like people but we can raise our children in a world where they are not taught that if everything is not going their way they can just go crazy and kill people. It’s a fucking temper tantrum. It’s a poor pitiful me pity party of epic proportions. We hover and coddle and then we turn our children loose into the teen years with no social skills and an expectation of instant gratification. They don’t know consequences and they feel like the world owes them a pound of flesh because everything’s not going their way and they exact their punishment.  We are raising a generation of narcissistic assholes who are so detached from human emotion that they can walk into a school and stab 22 people, shoot 26 elementary aged children, bomb an entire marathon of unsuspecting onlookers, shoot up a theater with families and not give a shit because all they care about it how they “feel”.

We have to change this. I can’t bear to hear about one more school stabbing or shooting. It starts with us, the parents. We need to teach our children that there are consequences to their actions. We need to teach them that life is not always about getting what you want or how you “feel”. Sometimes life sucks but we make changes, we talk it out, we get help, we fight for ourselves and we move on.

We teach them that these bad days don’t last forever. We quit raising kids who think the world revolves around them; who think that if they fail it’s the end of the world. We teach them to learn to get over rejection and work harder to be better. We teach them to respect human life. We teach them tenacity and self-confidence. We let them know that we are there for them and that we love them unconditionally and we pray that’s enough.

What are your thoughts on the school stabbings?

 

Alex Hribal, school stabbings, WTF America, Throat Punch Thursday

photo Trang Nguyen

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