The year my second child was born, life threw us some curveballs. That year included selling and buying of homes, an out of state move, career changes, and more. All of this was easily taking away my focus from being present and savoring my son’s babyhood. Somewhere along the way, I made up in my mind that I wasn’t going to let (fill in the blank) distract me from fully enjoying my children. I realized, like never before, that we have a choice in what we allow ourselves to focus on. I know that is so much easier said than done, but I’ve adopted that mentality throughout my motherhood.
I’ve told myself many times this year, “My boys will never be ages five and three again, so I am going to make the best of it despite the circumstances!” And that’s exactly what we have tried to do. My son is starting kindergarten and I was determined to not let all the chaos of this year steal our joy, I would not let it keep us from celebrating who my precious son is and this huge milestone for our family! I chose to look at 2020 as a gift; I was privileged with so much extra TIME with him before he started school.
I love to create memories and traditions as a family, ones that are special and can be easily recreated so everyone looks forward to them the following year. As mothers we get to decide what traditions we’d like to start. Of course, you can change and adapt as the years go on, but I’ve been thinking all year of ways we’d like to start the school year off.
Here is what we decided to do:
Hotel night: We chose to go all out because, why not?! We stayed downtown, ate dinner out, enjoyed swimming and a movie night in our room. Our kids thought it was amazing and it made them feel special. We were intentional about telling our son this was a special family night to celebrate him starting school. I’m not sure we’ll do this every year for back to school, but it was much needed and appreciated this year.
Polaroids: I saw a mom on Instagram years ago do this and I knew I wanted to implement it for our family when it was our time. Thankfully, we already have a Polaroid camera (my five-year-old has a huge photography interest as a hobby), but you could easily use any camera. We took three photos, one of each of us with our kindergartener. We wrote short encouraging notes on each photo and tucked them away in his backpack. If he ever wants to look at them, he can pull them out and be reminded of how much his family loves and believes in him.
Special breakfast: I told my son I’d make him anything he wanted for breakfast on his first day of school. My son requested chocolate chip pancakes, sausage, and apple juice, and that’s exactly what he got! I also snuck off to Dollar Tree when he went to sleep and got balloons to make the day extra special. My kids go bananas for balloons. The smile on his face the next morning was so worth it! Our family loves breakfast, but you could easily do something similar for dinner the night before.
As mommas, we have the privilege of creating the atmosphere we desire in our homes. I know this year has been extremely difficult. I’m not pretending to be immune from having my rough days or moments because I absolutely have. We are choosing to send him on campus to school. There are many changes being implemented that hurt my heart and that I know aren’t typical or normal, but are necessary. Perhaps it might be even more important in times like this to create traditions and try our best to maintain a sense of normalcy in the midst of uncertainty.