So school is starting for our kids in just a couple days. The mere thought of school starting has a mixture of emotions swirling through my head. First, the requisite YEAH – FINALLY !! – and then the AGHHH- where did the summer go and the GRRR… so much still to do in less than 48 hours. So much more summer to pack into the last 48 hours along with making sure the house is in semi-decent shape. Yes, I actually said that – the house needs to be in better shape. Unfortunately I have not succumbed to the “Oh, the house is fine, it will be clean once the kids leave mentality. “After all, the kids need to learn how to clean so they’re ready when they leave for college… when they are ready to leave for LIFE”. And yes, we’re the WORST parents in the world because they have to help clean the house each weekend.

Kissing HandsAnd somehow, some way this summer as my husband and I were contemplating the year behind and the year ahead- yes a rare moment of quiet and solitude hit us. Our kids are basically a year apart, a year apart in school and we have four years before the eldest goes off to college. In six to eight years our kids will be out of the house and on their way to serious adulthood. Whew! And now as I say this we have less than 48 hours before school starts. This is the first time our oldest will enter into high school and the last time we will have a child in seventh grade. In two more years, it will be the last time we have a middle schooler. There are a lot of firsts and a lot of lasts.

It seems like just yesterday that I was sitting with each of my children as their kindergarten teacher read the book “The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn. The Kissing Hand is a wonderful book about a mother raccoon that comforts her child that is afraid to be apart from her by placing a kiss on the raccoon’s paw. The kiss is to remind him whenever he is afraid he just needs to look at his hand and remember that his mom loves him and he’ll be back home soon. And, yes, I’m the mom that cries at the Hallmark commercials and at all the sad parts in a movie. My kids and husband know to sneak a peak at me during a sad part of the movie and you can be pretty sure I’m tearing up.

Hears to the first day of school! May all of us moms remember what the kissing hand is about – no matter what our children’s ages. And remember that we are always experiencing a first and a last. Enjoy your kids and have fun! Viva the new school year!

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