When I was in elementary school Sunday evenings made me sick to my stomach.

Because Sunday evenings meant school was around the corner.

And that worried me.

The homework, the schedule, the big responsibilities I placed on myself (I was a pretty conscientious, worried, painfully shy child). It was like I was gearing up to get compressed into a tiny box that squelched all my freedom right out.

Luckily that worry gradually faded and school became adored. I bawled the night we graduated from high school as my friends and I drove up the canyon after all our celebrating with “Forever Young” blasting through our old suburban.

But that same feeling I had in elementary school has been inching in for the last couple weeks. The walls of my big wide-open “box” of summer glory have been ever-so-gradually sneaking closer and closer until this morning they closed in on us and I sent four children off to three different schools. Our box will keep compressing as all the layers are added to keep it tight: deadlines and homework, the scramble from one thing to the next.

I know school is great. Grace and Claire woke up at 5:30 this morning they were so darn excited. Max and Elle were nervous and lamented school on the surface but I could see the excitement shining through in their eyes as vibrant as could be. I know getting into a schedule is therapeutic and good for all of us. It’s just that it seems like it came too fast. Way too fast.

Sure, the quiet stillness of our house feels amazing (Lucy is still asleep…dreaming of how much fun she’s going to have in her afternoon preschool in a few hours). Sure, it will feel so good to breathe and get a chance to sort through the hundreds photos I haven’t had a chance to download yet. I’m sure I will feel empowered when I carve out time to sort through the mail and stacks of papers that I have let pile up as I have sucked out the marrow of summer with my kids around.

There’s nothing like new beginnings. It’s all so new and gives us a chance to re-evaluate and start fresh. I’m just saying we will sure miss summer around here!


  1. First of all my kids aren't old enough for school, but the end of summer is making me sad as well. My mom used to beg us to stay home and try to bribe us to take days off periodically to go do something fun.

    You answer questions every Friday. I'm not sure where to ask a question so I will just ask it here. I hope that's okay. I read in your book that you had kids 14 months apart. I think it was you and not your mom… anyway I have kids 13 months apart. The youngest is 4 months and FINALLY starting to sleep at night which helps, but I must ask: How did you survive? Does it get easier? harder? They both have such urgent needs all the time. Did you have them share a room? We have a small place because I'd rather be home with them then be able to afford a bigger place. If they did share a room how did you handle that? Did they constantly wake each other up?

    Thanks in advance if you ever get the chance to answer my question. I know you probably have a long list.

  2. I would have to agree with you. Sending kids off is bitter-sweet for sure. Luckily I still have two at home with me. When they're all gone it's going to be so hard! It's so difficult to watch them grow up and know they're one more year closer to college/mission/marriage…ahhhh!

  3. I totally get it Shawni. Every year about this time I seriously consider homeschooling…just so I can reclaim my freedom and kids…but of course school wins and we go back every year. I know those stressful feelings of anticipation: deadlines, bring this and that, be here, wear that, fill this out, and be on time! Ugh. Summer is just so much more low key! We have another week to go. Wish me luck!! Darcy

  4. We don't go back til Sept 1st, but i am loving summer this year. it's so low key. My kids are loving it ( apart from the fighting LOL. As the last person said, i am already gearing up for the 'dress up this day', field trip that day, wear this colour this day'.. i also LOVe those things, but wow, is summer ever nice!..plus i am not wanting to head into our -40 canadian winters!!

  5. I feel slightly bipolar on this issue. One minute the kids are screaming in each other's faces and I think, "Please let the next two weeks slide by so they can get into school." Then the next minute they're playing so nicely together and I think, "I can't bear to let this end. I love that they love each other."
    Sigh. Is everything in mommyhood bittersweet? It feels that way sometimes.

  6. I used to dread that final slide from summer into the school year. But it has been many years since I've had it, and now, it's what I most miss. Shopping. Anticipation. Rediscovering our routines (somehow lost during the warm, summer months). Four of my grandkids will be in school this fall, and I have been a witness, at least peripherally. It's almost as good!

  7. I can say "ditto" to everything "lovinglife" said. I'm having a hard time with all of it, especially since this is the first year where all my kids are in school for the full day. Boo. Hiss. We literally get through the school year by looking forward to the next day off!

  8. Our kids don't start until Sept 6 here in Ontario. Just yesterday I noticed some bored whining/bickering had begun. It's like there's an exact time that moms can handle being around their kids and it's not as hard to send them back when that time finally is over and they have to go back to school.

    I find it's good for me to read American bloggers talking about their kids going back already–it makes me cherish even the moments when I'm starting to lose it because our time will soon end as well.

    Hope they all had a great first day!

  9. This is why I am homeschooling, I got tired of saying goodbye to them every day! Well that and a whole lot of other reasons too! We are starting on Monday though so we can take off more days through the year to go to museums, the zoo etc.!

  10. I need to tell you that I love your blog. I have admired and loved your parents for a LONG time. This world is a much better place because of them and their commitment to family values.
    Your mom is the epitome of deliberate mothering…and such a wonderful example to all of us who are striving to become such. You are definitely following in your mothers footsteps and I can't help but think how lucky your children are to have you.

    I noticed a couple of comments on homeschooling and couldn't help but wonder what your feelings are about it? Have you ever considered homeschooling your kids? I know, without a doubt, that homeschool is definitely not for everyone…but I would love to hear YOUR thoughts regarding it.

    Keep up your amazing work. I am so glad that there are people like you in this world!

    Have a wonderful day!

  11. i'm curious if there are things that your parents did (or things you feel might have helped) with you being so shy & dreading going to school.
    my daughter is starting 1st grade & i'm searching with ways to help her, she is shy & scared.
    it was nice to read the feelings you felt when you were little, somehow it helped me understand how my daughter probably feels.
    i pray for her & am searching for other ways to help too.
    you are such a blessing to me & inspire my mothering everyday. i hope our paths cross one day!
    thanks 🙂

  12. Hi Shawni,
    I found your parents' book about responsibility through your blog, and I love it! I've been feeling the urge to "nest" and organize now that my youngest is on her way to kindergarten, and I modified your parents' peg boards to fit our "Camp Connelly" family theme here: http://theconnellychronicles.blogspot.com/2011/08/camp-connelly-chore-more-charts.html
    I've also made a modified version of your Bear Lake itinerary poster as a weekly family dry erase board… I'll post that pic on my blog later this week.
    You Eyres/Pothiers inspire me!
    Cheers, from Kansas, Wendy

  13. ps, Thanks for the tip on the book ' the parenting breakthrough' i ordered it and so far i am loving it!!!.. i also just ordered your parents book ' how to talk to your kids about sex'.. I am dreading reading that one LOL!!!!!

  14. You made me think about something talking about your pictures. I am in the process of organizing my digital pictures on my computer. I was wondering what process you use to organize yours.

    I LOVE your blog. You make me think about things that I never even considered before. I love deep, honest discussions.

    Thanks for everything.

  15. I think I have been in denial that school is nearly here for us too. I have NOT bought the school supplies yet and we start in less than 2 weeks! I have tried to keep a low-key summer without packing it full of anything much except for plenty of park days and hanging out in the backyard. I had my 5th baby in May and my summer started out pretty rough…just so hard to deal with all my kids home while managing a new baby (while potty training a 3 year old) but now that August is here I am enjoying my kids more–and the slower pace summer offers. I love what others have commented saying that they are thankful to still have kids at home–I am thankful too! School is full of time lines and homework. Kids grow fast. However, I LOVED school as a kid, so I hope my kids will continue to like it too.
    As others have said, I thoroughly LOVE reading your blog, Shawni. You also inspire me and remind me that parenthood is one of the greatest callings in life. Thankyou!

  16. Gosh this brings back so many memories! I can't believe that Max and Elle are getting SO old! I remember the day you started 9th grade and it just doesn't seem that long ago. I had those feelings of dreading going back to school on Mondays too. Almost forgot about that!


  17. You guys start so early! We start (3 different schools) next week, and the week after for the little ones. I am ready though…they are also. By this time in summer, I feel like my brain is fried from never having a quiet moment to process a thought. When they were all little though…the moments were definitely bitter sweet. No I see they NEED and WANT to go…to be around their peers, and to work, and be challenged.

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