As a second grader, she’s an old pro. The 1st day of the 1st week of school started by taking this sweet girl to her bus stop. She posed with her friends…

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Climbed on the bus and off she went. (Don’t ask what could possibly be weighing down her bag that much on the first day of school…)

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She loves school. What more could we ask for?

Well, I asked her to smile. I might have had to make a (ahem) ‘fart noise’…for like a really long time. But hey – that’s a genuine smile!

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Yes, she’s as tall as she looks.

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She got a little tired of smiling for me.

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Come on, be serious Grace.

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Okay that’s a little too serious.

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Grace…smile honey.

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That’s my girl. Just beautiful.

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Next we drove Luke to preschool. We wondered if he would struggle now that his big brother had ‘graduated’ to Kindergarten but instead he impressed us all.

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Hugging Grandma goodbye.

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And without looking back…

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We haven’t learned much from last year when it comes to holding a sign.

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Oh Luke David.

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Such. A. Clown.

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With a rebel yell…

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My goofball. This is the closest I could get to a normal smile.

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Jacks first full day was a couple of days later. We just knew he would love school. He’s well socialized, loved preschool, loves learning…was so pumped for Kindergarten.

We could barely keep up with him as he walked to his classroom and even tried to ditch us as he stopped to turn and waive goodbye.

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And kept on walking…

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Uh, what are you guys still doing here?

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Gimme a hug goodbye bro! (Do I have to???)

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Yes, you have to.

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One last shot

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He even wanted to ride the bus home.

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It seemed to go well. We thought he did great.

So imagine how blindsided we were when he broke down crying while making his lunch for the next day. He didn’t want to go back to school.

We thought he was just tired and that it was a moment that would pass but instead it got worse.

Way worse.

For about a week straight he cried when he woke up. Cried over his breakfast. Cried all the way to school and cried all day in school. He would have a moment of relief when I picked him up until he asked me if he had to go back tomorrow.

“Yes buddy”

He asked how long he had to go to school and after we explained his school years to him he informed us that he would NOT be going to college.

And then he started crying again. He cried at dinner. He cried himself to sleep.

We were beside ourselves. It was so unlike him, he was acting depressed. He kept telling us he just missed us. He also told us he wanted a new teacher because he thought she was mean.

Ugh. Just punch me in the stomach.

His teacher, very well-respected, is known for being strict and my sensitive, well-behaved boy has never really had anyone like that in his short life. As parents, you just want to protect your child. You want everyone to be kind to them but the reality is…well that’s not reality. We prayed, and we told Jack to pray. We dug deep to try to find how this could be a positive thing. We explained that she wasn’t yelling at him but that she had a lot of kids to keep under control. Try to explain not taking something personal to a 5 year old.

Then one day, he didn’t cry as much. He told me that afternoon that he was crying, and he thought of God, and he stopped crying.

And little by little, inch by inch…each day he cried a little bit less.

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And his teacher rewarded him, you know…that mean teacher.

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And finally, last day of week 3, no tears from start to finish.

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It was so painful to watch him go through the anxiety, we just want him to love school!

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But we both knew that in God’s infinite plan something even greater was happening.

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He was learning that people show their kindness in different ways.

That discipline does not equal ‘mean’.

That he does like school after all (heck maybe he’ll even go to college!!)

And for us as his parents, we learned to let go so that he could learn to lean on God.

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Priceless.

And so our school year begins.