Monday, August 20, 2018

Embracing The Next Stage

I'm not going to lie.  Embracing the next stage is NOT something I have ever looked forward to in my life.  From my youth and graduations, to adulthood and changing jobs, the next stage, even the next step, is hard on my heart.  I am a pretty emotionally invested person.  The logical part of my brain tells me that going to the next step is simply, well, the next thing.  Staying where I am is typically no longer an option, so it's not really much of a choice.  But for my heart, it's not so simple.  It worries if I have made the right decision about all the details of the next step.  And then there's that quiet nagging fear that the next stage won't be nearly as great as the last one.  So you can only imagine the struggle I had in sending off my girl to Kindergarten, while simultaneously sending off my first born to high school.  To save him (and you) the added bonus of having those pictures in the world, they are not included here, but know that the stages you see here of my girl have many mirror images of my first born.  And there's no need to make a point of telling me, I already know I fall into the over sharer category on this post.  Sorry, not sorry.

Our sweet girl was SO worried about kindergarten until the day we went to get school supplies.  Every time someone asked if she was excited and ready for school, she would whine, turn, and grab my leg.  And telling her she would make so many new friends made it worse.  She was worried that the kids would be mean or the teacher wouldn't be kind or that the school would be too big.  So imagine my surprise when in one afternoon, all of that changed.  Suddenly a row of character backpacks had my girl's eyes glowing.  Only ten minutes after picking it out and landing it in our cart, she announced with glee, "Momma!  I'm so 'cited to show my teacher my new backpack!  I can't WAIT to go to school!"  My heart leapt!

Of course, a new backpack must be explored and tried on.  I love that grin that came when my girl asked me to read her what the words said agin: "Leave a little sparkle wherever you go".

Meet the Teacher Day soon followed and was a big success.  It got our girl almost completely on board for her first day.  I mean, who can resist organizing and decorating?  (All my teacher friends are nodding in agreement with me.)

Since I have been staying home, I have been making my son's favorite cookies for his first day, and freezing most of the batch to bake over the first month or longer of school.  Last year, my girl and I made them for him together.  So, this year's new tradition was to mix the cookies on the last day of summer and have some ready for the first day home.

When my son was a kindergartner, I didn't get the chance to help him get ready for school because I started work so early.  And by the time I started staying home, he had it down.  We are working hard on getting that morning routine down with our girl so that it becomes an independent task before too long.

I love getting to walk to school with my girl.  When Aaron was in elementary school, we did the same thing when the weather permitted.  I really enjoy the extra time together and being outdoors.  We'll see how she feels about it after making friends on the bus.

Meet the Teacher day and Kindergarten orientation really helped our girl feel more confident about her first day.  Saying goodbye seemed to be harder on us than her - and there were most certainly tears from this Momma.

And then - the end of the day finally came, and my girl came off the bus LIKE THIS.  She had the biggest grin running straight at me and was so excited about her first day.

I would do this story an injustice if I polished it off here.  In the midst of this week, there were plenty of pictures not taken.  Ones of my girl and I having a scuffle before cookies, followed by us both boo-hooing in my bedroom about the things she no longer wanted pictures of because it made her sad that she wouldn't be here for them anymore.  There are no pictures of me crying as I walked down the hall, or pictures of my solo lunch on the first day or walk home on the second day of school, where it suddenly hit me that I would be doing my days alone.  But all of those things happened, and we even got to throw in a melt down on the second day where a very busy night led to my girl bawling about how much she missed me and how she didn't get to spend any time with me.  I cried right along with her and made sure our morning routine now includes time for the two of us to cuddle for a while in bed in the mornings.  I have confidence it will get better, but in the midst of it, it needs to be said that embracing the next stage is hard.  So hard.

So maybe that leaves you wondering about me, and the question that seems to be on everyone's mind: what will I do with myself with all of my "free" time.  Being a stay-at-home Mom has been a beautiful journey, and one that I want to continue on even though my kiddos are away for the day.  I have gone through tons of stages of redefining myself and I am finding this is another turn on that road.  As I move forward, I am excited to have more time to shoot and edit pictures of other families - like YOURS.  If you have been following our story here and have always wanted to do pictures like this with your family, now is your time.  I am working on putting time into growing my business and would love to be able to do for other families what I have been able to photograph for my own.  If this sounds beautiful to you, then I would love to hear from you.  E-mail me so we can start talking about the perfect session for your crew.  And be on the lookout for upcoming family model calls and specials to take advantage of.  Make sure you follow me on Facebook or Instagram and subscribe to my email list so you are one of the first to know.

Until next time,