The Back To School Stories

As I was eating lunch today I was thinking about how smooth back to school was for my kids this year. 

Almost too smooth - like when is it going to be tough? 

It obviously hasn't always been this way. There've been tears and frustrations and conflict and really rough transitions, especially for Simon. 

So far this year has been calm and, dare I say, happy. 

Well, you know, except for my own personal anxieties and such. Ha.   

Sometimes the hard part comes creeps in a after they've had a chance to acclimate to the new schedule. Sometimes Simon's tics (what he calls his "habits") get more exaggerated as new stressors come up.

But so far, so good

Simon was the first to head back to school last week. 

He's in the 7th grade this year. Around here that's the middle year of middle school. 

He's back with his regular crew of awesome teachers and aides. He's got one main teacher and two aides for four periods (language arts + math + support periods) then he has science (I think his favorite) and his elective is culinary arts. 

On the first day back at school he got out of the car on the first day and exclaimed to Chris and me, "there's no place like school."

And he smiled all the way in to get his schedule. 

He had a little bit of anxiety the night before when Aaron and I were tucking him in - totally normal pre-teen stuff. It might have been about a girl. He might of been showing us her photo in his yearbook. He might have been asking questions about what to do when he saw her again. 

(Dear Universe, any girl would be freaking insanely lucky to be adored by this guy. His heart is so full and he sparkles like nothing you've ever seen.)

When I picked him up after that first day he was super happy. That girl might have walked by him when he was in line for his schedule and said hi. 

A little kindness goes a very long way. 

Go Simon go. 

Anna started Kindergarten this week. 

She was ready. She asked for a new purple backpack with pink and blue and white polka dots and a cupcake embroidered on the back. She was excited and so looking forward to seeing her friends that she had made in the Pre-K program at this school last year. 

She had literally been counting down the days. 

We took her to the open house on Monday to meet her teacher, see her classroom, drop off her supplies and generally get back in the building. In the afternoon she met with her teacher in a one-on-one sit down meeting to check out her skills and give the teacher a chance for meet her individually. I sat in the hall in a kindergarten chair and waited patiently for her to come out. 

On Tuesday they started with an all-school assembly in the gym and then the kids walked with their teachers to their classrooms. There were multiple times Anna looked over at me during the assembly, checking to see if I was still there. I stuck around and walked with her to her class, holding her hand the whole way. Once the kids were all in the classroom the teacher had them sit on the floor and she started the day by writing "Be Brave" on the board. 

Awesome. 

It's something I so wish for both my kids. The ability to be brave in all the best ways (and to know that being brave doesn't mean you always win in the traditional sense). There are so many different kinds of bravery in our world - in doing things you might be afraid of/stepping outside your comfort zone, in standing up for others, in believing in yourself. Such a wise, wonderful lesson to begin the first day of Kindergarten.  

Go Anna go. 

Here's to a great school year for all our kids. 


SHOP UPDATES

Heads up that four new digital products went up on Tuesday. You can check them all out in the digital section of my shop

Here's my favorite one this week called Everyday Life Cursive - I used it on the photo at the top of this post of Anna. I also think it looks pretty cool really big across a photo: 

Everyday Life Cursive from aliedwards.com

Also, I shared an image of the first Story Stamp™ set on Facebook and Instagram yesterday. The theme? Prompts

In future months I will just be sharing these sets on the day they go live (the 15th).

If you've already signed up you are all set and these stamps will start shipping next week. In addition you'll have access to the Subscriber-Only area on Monday (pretty sure this will be via the My Classes tab under your user name). 

And speaking of classes, I did a quiet launch of my new workshop Lens Of Joy. You can check all the details about this workshop (a four-week class running during the month of November) here. I'll post about it again next week.  

Related Posts

Sign in or sign up to comment.

46 thoughts

  1. vanharm says…
    09/11/2014

    *goosebumps* especially the "BE BRAVE". yes, awesome.
    TfS, Ali

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Julchen82 says…
    09/11/2014

    So great for you and your kids. I will take your class - yeah. And I want to buy your stamps but it doesn't work because I just have paypal (no credit card here in Germany - I don't need it here). So hopefully (for the first stamp - I want so bad) it would work for paypal too.

    Thanks, Juliane

    PS: With your class it worked. This I payed with Paypal.

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. mtercha says…
    09/11/2014

    Culinary arts will be awesome. I taught my boys how to cook this summer, and they can prep and cook a basic dinner of chicken or meatloaf, meatballs. It's done worlds for their confidence at 15, just imagine the lift Simon will get. Very exciting. Be brave, a great mantra too. Good news. Michelle t

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. SuWrite says…
    09/11/2014

    Go, Simon and Anna! And go, Ali! There's a website that sells bracelets with the words "BE BRAVE" on them -- it is called Bravelets and for every bracelet (or bravelet as they call them) one gets, $10 from each bravelet goes to the associated cause (like Autism/Asperger's, cancer, Alzheimer's, even anxiety and one of my favorites, kindness and goodwill.) www.bravelets.com I love my bravelets and think it is a great way to remind ourselves to be brave and at the same time, to raise funds for those worthy causes.

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. SusanDR says…
    09/11/2014

    So glad when back to school goes smoothly for kids. It makes a big difference for all, including Mom. Tears in my eyes reading about the girl who said hi to Simon. What a big reminder that something possibly so small and innocent can make a huge impact on someone else. A great lesson for all ages. Wishing you all a successful and happy school year. Thanks for all your lessons - crafty and real life!

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. kcp_ says…
    09/11/2014

    I feel totally weird writing this, but I almost teared up on the Simon liking a young lady part. So awesome to see him enter this pre-teen phase just like every other kid his age. My nephew has autism and is a few years younger than Simon. I totally wish for him to go through these normal phases of life in a happy and healthy way.

    Reply 3 Replies
    1. mtercha says…
      09/11/2014

      It's not weird. You're very kind, and it's normal to want that for your nephew. Michelle t

    2. AliEdwards says…
      09/11/2014

      There's more to the story than I included here too - it's hard for him to understand (hard for lots of kids his age obviously) so many of the subtle social cues from other kids so we do a lot of talking about what it means to "like" someone else, what it means to be a real "friend," etc. But it's hard.

    3. lasteve1 says…
      09/11/2014

      I had a similar reaction... That's huge. My brother has autism though he's much older than Simon (he's 25) and he did not get it at that age. He didn't understand when girls liked him, he thought it was weird, he had trouble even with friends that were boys. But then he found his thing--computers and he blossomed. He still has trouble, but was able to connect with people with the shared interest of computers--mostly gaming or programming--and has a solid group of friends now (though he still hasn't really figured out the dating thing yet). He isn't a complete "success" story in many people's eyes I'm sure, but I am proud of him and he has come a long way. With autism, the baby steps are so huge.

  7. songbird says…
    09/11/2014

    I admit I teared up reading about Simon and the girl. Any girl will be lucky to have not just him but your entire family! So happy that it's been a smooth transition this year. :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. maiaohe says…
    09/11/2014

    Thanks for sharing your back to school experience. So sweet that Simon is noticing girls. Man......where did the time go? Good luck to the Soccer Chocolate Kittens this year. I hope they have a great season.

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. anniebeagle says…
    09/11/2014

    So sweet. The "be brave" part made me tear up a bit! :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. nusasb says…
    09/11/2014

    Hey there....I signed up for your stamp subscription and I'd like to make a stamp request. I LOVE how you hand draw lines on your journaling cards before you journal. Any chance you'd consider making a stamp out of them? Something like messy journaling lines. Thanks!!!!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      09/11/2014

      Hi! I love requests - thank you. I'll add that.

  11. rosiest says…
    09/11/2014

    Hi there, just another person that teared up (on my lunch break at work) reading about Simon. Watching him growing up via your blog over the years, it is so awesome to see him reaching another milestone. GO SIMON GO!!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Bsthlf says…
    09/11/2014

    Great start to new adventures! Go Ali, Simon, and Anna!

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. cele says…
    09/11/2014

    Love the new setup and love this post! Was jealous of your weekend at The Dave Mathews outdoor concert-how cool was that! Was wondering what has happened to Katie's PL posts?? Does she have her own site now? Keep on keepin on....

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. caryvanos says…
    09/11/2014

    Thank you, thank you!! I can't begin to express how grateful I am to read this today. My second grader has so much anxiety when it comes to school. He is also on the spectrum. I have been struggling with the now. How hard it is now, how sad I am to watch him so scared right now. Your post was a wonderful reminder that it won't always be like it is right now. He has come so far and I know he will do amazing things. Thank you for helping me look up this morning.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      09/11/2014

      For Simon it really comes and goes these days and the frustrations and transition challenges are different than they were when he was younger (less intense in some ways and more intense in others - hoping he's not stuffing that all inside vs. how he used to let it out). Such an ebb and a flow. For me it's always been about ways to celebrate what's happening for him right now - looking for the little successes, the little connections. I remember people telling me that it would "get better" as he got older - sometimes that was hard for me to understand, but I would say that my overall experience has been that we have both grown and found ways to adapt to what works for him (and me) and it is easier in many ways. Just keep supporting and celebrating!

  15. Jana_NJ says…
    09/11/2014

    Ali thanks for sharing this. My son it's the same age of Anna and he started Kindergarten but he has Autism, he's not very verbal and this magic stage is different around here. There is no conversations about starting school, there is no Did you have fun? How was it?
    But he's been going to special needs program since 3 and he does know what the bus means and when I say: you go to school today; that's why he said: car! meaning I don't want to go to the bus (meaning again school).
    But I was happy the teacher said he had a a awesome day. He transitioned from Pre K fine, and when he saw me waiting for him he gave me such a big smile and he was so happy to be home.
    Yeah Kindergarten is not the same here like many families, but I had pictures and I had the pain in my heart that my son is growing and there's no turning back. And he does things in his own way and that what it is about Autism. They teach us to see day by day event totally different and feel a whole new way to deal with typical emotions.

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. AliEdwards says…
      09/11/2014

      Do you guys have a communication notebook? That was one thing that really helped with Simon when he was in the early school years. Because he couldn't communicate to us what was actually happening it was so great to be able to read from the teacher what was happening, how he, and what we could be working on at home. You can ask to have that added to his IEP if it's not something in place right now.

    2. Jana_NJ says…
      09/12/2014

      Yes the teacher send notes and let me know what he did, his activities, if he enjoyed the day and any extra curriculum, we are very blessed to have a wonderful school.
      I try to put all that info in his scrapbooks because he can't express himself verbally but he is learning to read and write and he is actually ahead so maybe one day he will be able to type his feelings and how was school to me.
      Thanks Ali !

  16. hprins says…
    09/11/2014

    Oh. My. Gosh. Simon and a girl! So freaking cute I can't stand it!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. kraftkris says…
    09/11/2014

    Your words are always so eloquent Ali. They inspire me to want to capture these thoughts for my own kids. I am also in awe of the co-parenting that you do with Chris - something I wish that my divorced parents had done (MUCH) better.

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. AmberCA says…
    09/11/2014

    You know, I was thinking as I read this post that the way you write about your life feels like I am chatting on the phone with a close friend. I love that you are so open on your blog. I love that I feel like I 'know' you even though we've never met, because I have been checking in here for sooo many years. There is a sort of comfort that I feel when I read your blog. I just wanted to say thanks for that. I haven't blogged in awhile, but here's a link to mine: http://gingerlyhandmade.blogspot.com/

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. ourcrazylife says…
    09/11/2014

    You're truly an inspiration in how you share your stories of life, your kids, etc. Thank you Ali. I too express to my kids to be brave and try new things.... my son last night for the first time in all week, had his esteem boosted up when our family practice catching the baseball back and forth. He took steps forward when needing to catch and did it so bravely. I'm still reliving last night, I'm so proud of my kids, and seeing your blog spot, filled my heart even more. <3

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. jessicanturner says…
    09/11/2014

    Have you read Let's All Be Brave by Annie Downs? I think you would dig it. My Elias started kindergarten this year too! xo

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. SusanBowers says…
    09/11/2014

    Your stories of late have just been filled...so filled with so much. It is very inspiring!! And a question: Could we see a couple examples, maybe different examples, of your digital products as they go up? Use in PL, use in traditional page, another way to use. I'm asking because, while I usually can 'see' how to use your projects I'm at a loss with those 'background' stamps and it made me think that a couple people using your projects and including them on the shop page with each of the products would be helpful. Does that make sense?

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      09/11/2014

      Totally makes sense! And it's on my list.

  22. gina200 says…
    09/11/2014

    Thank you Ali. These are great stories - love reading about your kids and what they're doing. A while back I had asked if you would do a class on photography and you said one was in the works - yay! I'll be signing up. Thanks so much for all you do to help us capture stories. I'm really looking forward to the stamps next week!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. JenRay says…
    09/11/2014

    Great stories! I love that part about being brave. If you haven't already, I think you should make some digital word art with a bravery theme. (And if you have, please point me to it.) We talk from time to time here about how being brave doesn't mean that you aren't afraid, it means you do something despite being afraid. Anyway, I use tons of your word at in my digital Project Life album, and I would love to have some "brave" words to use!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      09/11/2014

      Hi! I have the word brave included in this set: http://www.designerdigitals.com/digital-scrapbooking/supplies/product_info.php/products_id/12289. I'll definitely keep it in mind for it's own set.

  24. Madeline says…
    09/11/2014

    Ali I love seeing how far Simon has come, you are a wonderful mom to help him though all this and I love seeing Chris with him, great pair and Anna just cracks me up with her cute little face

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Cdpeck says…
    09/11/2014

    I have tears in my eyes over Simon's joy in life and his first crush. I truly hope I get to meet him someday and tell him how excited I am for him, even though I've only known him through your eyes in this virtual world.

    Reply 0 Replies

Sign in or sign up to comment.