It's that time of year again.... Back to school! Some parents feel relieved that the kids are back in school, with structure to their day and not underfoot. Some, like me, not so much. For me, the school year is intense both professionally and personally. By the time June rolls around, the kids and I desperately need a break.

And enjoy we do, a break from the tedious routine of bells, homework, waking up early and school uniforms. Summer is a time to let our bodies and brains relax, revisit family pastimes, go on road trips, do creative things and stay up late with no time pressures.

As a kid, even though I was sad to see summer go, I was excited to see and catch up with my friends in every August. I loved getting those brand new school supplies – sharp colorful crayons, new pens and pencils and who can forget those great Mead Trapper Keepers! Mom took us shopping for clothes and shoes. On that first day of school, in our spiffy new clothes carrying our brand new school supplies as we posed for pictures in front of the school or home. A sense of a fresh start with the new school year. 

Summer 2014 is over and we indeed had a great time! Now we enter the 2014-15 school year with new hopes, dreams and expectations. Both boys are in new schools this year – one in middle school and one in high school. I am trying to balance my mommy hat and my teacher hat, training them for independence by letting go and letting some natural consequences happen and giving them guidance and help.

First day impressions from the middle schooler - “Well, that was different.” Upon further questioning he seemed positive about his first experience in the middle school world. The high schooler jubilantly expressed “This is my dream school!” out loud while we walked down a high school hallway. He was referring that he finally is a student at Mommy's high school where she works.

Remembering back when I was in elementary school in the 1970's, we could pick fancy spirals, notebooks and supply boxes that suited our individual personalities. As a parent in this present day and age, I am glad we are past the elementary school supplies packets. The hefty required supplies expense for all the generic folders and other items purchased for the class as a whole doesn't seem as much fun! Now in middle and high school they have the choice to pick the fun supplies that works for them as an individual as well as the what each teacher requires. (Or what works for me, because they don't seem to care as much as I do about it!) When the middle schooler was presented with an impressive zip binder I had purchased for him that had built-in supplies pocket and accordion file, he asked if he should be “Impressed”. He flippantly said “Organization was for Girls.” I said it was for “Successful People!”

Did I mention that I hate school uniforms? Only 3 more years of uniforms and then we are done! Some parents like uniforms, but I don't. Mainly because if the washing didn't get done during the week and we were busy on the weekend, then we run out of the regulation pants or shirts, and we have to scramble. And yes, I have pulled items from the dirty clothes on occasion. Or stayed up until 3 a.m. on a work/school night washing those darn uniforms. (OK, this is one area where I am not so organized!) We do what we gotta do!

I am proud of my boys! It is my hope with the right guidance and support, they will develop into polite, happy and independent young men. These school years are hectic and stressful at times for parents and kids, but the payoff potential for the adults they will become is so great!


Kimberly's first day of 1st grade, Roosevelt-Wilson Elementary School in Texas City, TX.
First day of school 2014.  Weston in 6th grade at Spring Oaks Middle School and Caleb in 9th grade at Memorial High School in Houston, TX.
 

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    Kimberly Howell is a devoted wife, mother and daughter.  She loves her boys and man!  And of course, her many critters. Her professional life involves working with students with disabilities and being a pet sitter.

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