Crayons in the backpack, lunchbox dangling behind, dressed and combed two hours early…

Today, today my baby traipsed off to first grade. She’s sparkly and eager; ready to walk to school with the brothers and eat lunch in the vast cafeteria. Summer swept by too quickly and I wish we’d had more time to swim, play Uno and sleep under the stars.

In a classic Freudian slip I neglected to register her at the school until just days ago. Part of me hoped that they wouldn’t have room; she’d just have to stay at home. Mopping the floor won’t be the same without her chattering beside me and I’ll miss her little hand in mine at the grocery and the post office.

I’m on the cusp of one of motherhood’s great milestones and it’s not at all what I thought. When my children were tiny, I imagined this season with vast stretches of unmarked canvas to ply and paint with my own ambitions. But I see little free time at all.



7:25 and no time for a picture!

8:40– though they could leave at 8:58 and still be on time. It’s in b&w because the colors were all wrong. I struggle with photos too, you know.

This week will be consumed with back-to-school paperwork, my mother’s birthday and moving Ben down to BYU. I anticipate playing catch-up for the rest of the month on the housecleaning, photo shoots, emails, errands, ironing basket etc. that have been pushed aside for months.

After that? Well, I’m on duty from 7-9 a.m. and then 2:30 to 10 p.m.– in the five point five hours in between I hope to grocery shop (and maybe plan meals more than two hours in advance), volunteer at the school, become a better Young Women’s President, maintain the house and yard– and hopefully squeeze in a little time for photos and writing. I’ll try to stick to my 20 year habit of waking at 5:30 to run or lift weights at the gym, because I fear that if I sleep in and try to work out later I’ll never get out of my gym clothes.

Once upon a time I was an organized, tidy, pulled-together momma. My soup cans were alphabetized, beds were made every day and when baby Xander took a nap I sat down to practice the piano. When he was two I began filling out applications for graduate programs and anticipating “the next stage.” And then came Gabriel and Mary. My life spun wildly, crazily out of control– never to land and settle in that neat structured land again– and for me, that was exactly the way it was supposed to be.

I honor my friends who are back to school and paychecks; I know they’ve made the right decision for their family and that this is the right choice for mine.

I’m looking forward to long drives down to BYU just to deliver cookie dough, navigating high school dating with Stefan (have you seen that boy? do you think there is any way for him to avoid girl drama?), planning homemade Halloween costumes with the little ones and afternoons making applesauce. We’ll be studying spelling words, driving to dance, soccer and viola lessons and procuring plastic fish for an ocean diorama.

I hope to take some time to grieve.

And if my new schedule allows me an occasional afternoon napping on the couch with a new book and hot chocolate at my side-

I’ll savor every moment.



August 21, 2010
August 25, 2010



  1. Tracy

    August 23, 2010

    Oh sweet Mary going off to school…She must be so incredibly excited. I love your plan for yourself. Those hours in between will rush by at lightening speed. You will be busier than ever. And happy.

    I love you for your 20 year habit of waking at 5:30 for your run. That is my habit also. I plan to keep it for another 40 years or so. Perhaps we can go running together every morning when we are 80?
    Love you. xoxo, T
    (..and yes, count on some girl drama with that handsome boy….)

  2. Selwyn

    August 23, 2010

    I <3 you so hard!

    Your second last line made me tear up (and I can’t, because I’m trying so hard to finish my essay for uni!) – I hope you get that time.

    Please, please let us one day find ourselves on the same couch again, savouring every minute.

    Luv, SK

  3. Kerri

    August 23, 2010

    Michelle, I really am so sad for you, and happy at the same time. Grieving? Definitely take time for it. And celebrating also. You are a remarkable mother and inspire me so often to try a little harder to be a little better. Enjoy your book and hot chocolate. You deserve it.

    Benny starts preschool Tues and I’m freaking out about THAT. I can’t imagine first grade yet. Well, I can, and I’m choosing to shut that door. I’ll deal with it when I have to.

  4. Sue

    August 23, 2010

    My granddaughter just started first grade last week. They sure grow up fast, don’t they?

    And you are in a new phase of your life. Enjoy it! I know you will.


  5. emily

    August 23, 2010

    again i feel compelled to comment on your greatness! i have 2 1/2 weeks until my baby starts preschool … it’s going to be strange to not have him around all the time … i’m happy though, my kindergartener goes in the afternoon … so i’ll still have somebody home to be with everyday … what ever will i do when everyone is in school? and why does summer always fly by!?

  6. Tracy

    August 23, 2010 added pics – ironically Esther is wearing that same outfit Love the first day of school pics with their big backpacks.

    Enjoy your alone time today!

  7. Brooke

    August 24, 2010

    that’s the first thing i thought: stefan is so cute, and the second thing was that i feel all of these things too… only possibly not quite so beautifully.

    thank you for being the mother i aspire to be! xo

  8. Claudia

    August 24, 2010

    It was so fun to see you today, even if it was just from the front porch!

    We must squeeze in a girlfriend shopping/cupcake run. I’ve missed you.

    I find myself in a similar boat. Although I did manage to squeeze in a 20 minute nap today. First one in a long time! It was great!

  9. chococatania

    August 24, 2010

    Your blog is so beautiful. i hope you don’t mind that I lurk here often.

    Good luck with the hot chocolate and reading… ;D

  10. Rachelle

    August 24, 2010

    I hope you savor the peace & quiet of the day. It’s amazing how fast 3pm comes. :o)

  11. martha corinna

    August 26, 2010

    Beautiful, as usual. I will think of you if I ever get a moment to read on the couch with my tea:)

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