Tales of a Fourth Grade Something & His Sister

by Kathy on August 26, 2013 · 7 comments

in Abby, Bob, Communication, Expectations, Family, Perfect Moments, School, Sean

Our morning did not quite go as we planned. I did get up early, as we discussed last night. As soon as Bob got out of the shower I was ready to get in, instead of sleeping later, as I often tended to this summer. I assumed that Abby was still asleep and Sean had woken up with his alarm, which he had set before bedtime.

As I finished getting ready I heard Bob coming upstairs. I was surprised to hear him open Sean’s door and tell him that he had overslept. From then on there was a lot of frustration and emotions all around.

Sean was clearly upset with himself for not hearing his alarm. I couldn’t believe that Bob hadn’t noticed and woken him earlier. But Bob thought he heard Sean get up around the same time he did and go into the bathroom to shower. So when he went downstairs and saw Sean’s bedroom door closed, he must have assumed Sean was finishing getting ready to go downstairs for breakfast.

This was the first year we all agreed it was okay for Bob go into work on time and thus not join us to take Sean to school. I had mixed feelings about it, but understood that the older Sean gets, he doesn’t necessarily need his whole family to escort him on the first day. As Bob left the house we were not too happy with each other, as I still believed on some level that he knowingly allowed his son to oversleep on his first day of school and he didn’t appreciate feeling like I was blaming him for the situation. I felt also guilty that I didn’t notice Sean wasn’t up and moving when I got in the shower, probably because I was too busy being proud of myself for getting myself out of bed on time.

Soon after Bob left I started to look around and realize all the things he had done before leaving this morning. Abby had apparently woken up not long after I did. Bob took care of getting her breakfast ready and she was eating at the kitchen table when I came downstairs. I noticed that he had made our bed and Sean’s lunch. He also got Sean’s milk money for the week ready on the kitchen counter. Meanwhile, Sean was upstairs showering and getting ready faster than usual, understanding that he needed to do so, if we were going to make it to school on time.

As all of this sunk in, I sent Bob an email. I thanked him for all that he had done for our family before he left and let him know that the first day of school wasn’t the same without him here, but that we understand he felt he needed to go into work, especially with all the time off he had this summer (spending plenty of quality time with our family) and his promotion a few months back (adding more to his already full plate).

Bob sent me a kind reply and I felt better about where things stood with us, before it was time to move on with our morning, getting Sean’s breakfast, taking a few first day of school pictures and then heading off to school. From there on out it felt more like first days of school in years past, though I still missed having Bob with us.

It was fun to see so many friendly and familiar faces when we arrived at Sean’s school, which he has attended since first grade. As we walked him up to his fourth grade classroom on the school’s second floor, I noticed some of the new kids and families and remembered what it felt like to be in their shoes four years ago. Since our son’s school doesn’t have a Kindergarten, every child who begins there in first grade started grade school somewhere else. So they are all adjusting to another new school, just one year after leaving preschool (except for a few who attended Kindergarten at the same place they went to preschool).

As Sean lined up to go into his new classroom with the same kids he has been with for the past four years, there is only classroom per grade that the Chicago Public School Regional Gifted Center that he attends, I flashed back to how much each of the boys and girls have grown since they began there in September 2010. I was impressed to hear their teacher greet each of them by name as the filed into their classroom and looked for their desks (piled high with school books for the year).

One of the benefits of a smaller school, like Sean’s, is definitely that it doesn’t take long for the teachers, staff and students to get to know each other. So I think it is cool that Sean and his classmates will begin this school year already somewhat knowing their new teacher and vice versa. I got a good vibe from her as Abby and I said goodbye to her, after dropping Sean off, which I hope bodes well for the school year to come.

After running a quick errand, Abby and I headed home, to change clothes. Then we put some sunscreen on and went back outside to go for a bike ride. As some of you know, Abby learned to ride her bike with training wheels over the weekend, so she was excited to practice her new skill some more! Prior to today she had *only* ridden around our block. This morning I told her she could choose to go anywhere and way she wanted. Abby really got a kick out of deciding which way to turn or whether to go straight ahead at each intersection we approached.

After riding around our neighborhood for a while, we decided to go to a nearby park, that due to our busy, fun and over-programmed summer, we rarely made it to in recent months. We had fun playing together there and I remembered how much I love the simple pleasures that come with spending that kind of quality time with my daughter running, climbing, sliding, swinging, pretending and drinking from the water fountain there. Then we headed home to relax and cool off before lunchtime.

We look forward to celebrating Sean’s first day of fourth grade more in later, when we pick him up after school and head to Rainbow Cone for ice cream (one of our first day of school traditions)!


It’s the last Monday of the month, when we share our Perfect Moments from August with Lori from Lavender Luz. I look forward to participating in this monthly blog hop/writing exercise hosted by my friend, and author of an awesome book about open-adoption.

What I appreciate about my family and my experience today, on Sean’s first day of fourth grade, is that I was reminded how we can still find perfect moments in the midst of days that don’t start off with them. I often feel pressure (self-imposed) to make the first day of school so awesome for my kids/our family and to capture some of it on film, that I don’t actually enjoy it as much as I should or could. So things not going just as we planned this morning, helped to shake things up a bit, which led to plenty of special moments (some of which I described here) as we kick off this new school year!


Lori from Lavender Luz says that “Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between.” I love the idea of being mindful of and blogging about perfect moments. Over the years I have often used my blog more to write about things I am struggling with and though I know that is valid and important for me at times, I appreciate the idea of being intentional about also sharing the simple and very special moments in our lives. Many thanks to Lori for this wonderful opportunity to focus on what is right in our life, instead of what is wrong. 

Click here to read about and comment on more Perfect Moments (there are links to others’ posts at the bottom of Lori’s blog entry) and/or add a link to one of your own. Thank you for reading/watching. I hope that you have a wonderful week and that you are aware of, as well as able to notice, many perfect moments in your own lives.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lori Lavender Luz August 26, 2013 at 2:30 pm

I can so relate to your hectic morning that resulted in icky feelings on a morning you were wanting the opposite. It’s inspiring to me that you were attuned to your own emotions and were able to zoom out to the big picture and reach out to Bob later on.

What a handsome 4th grader you have there, and congrats to Abby for learning to ride the 2 (4) wheeler. Enjoy your ice cream!
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2 Casey August 26, 2013 at 7:11 pm

Glad the day worked out but ugh. I hate those hard starts.
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3 Jenna August 26, 2013 at 9:27 pm

Oh man. We haven’t had a late start just yet this school year — BUT IT IS COMING. Maybe you already got yours out of the way for the year? Maybe? 😉
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4 Em August 27, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Our after-the-first-day-of-school tradition was always caramel apples. I think I like your ice cream tradition better. (-:
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5 Delenn August 27, 2013 at 9:30 pm

I love how you emailed your husband and thanked him. It is something I think that we tend to forget on those often hectic mornings–to appreciate everyone in the family and what they do to keep the family together. Happy Fourth Grade to your son! Love the pictures–such beautiful children!


6 Marianne August 27, 2013 at 11:46 pm

Sorry. I totally got stuck on the whole “my husband made THE BED” part. I don’t think our bed has been made once in the last 10 years. You guys are amazing!! 😉
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7 Justine August 27, 2013 at 11:50 pm

The image of Abby deciding which way to turn, spontaneously, is the perfect follow up to the resilience you all had to have when things didn’t go as planned. We actually don’t end up taking I. to school at all, because he’ll be at day care. So in some ways, it’s special … but also not. What you suggest about needing to live the milestone instead of planning it … is so true.
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