A letter to my boys

To my boys:

I may cry tomorrow. Who am I kidding? I’m crying right now.

Tomorrow means another new school year. And this year, both of you will wear official uniforms.

It’s not your fault I’m crying. It’s those collared shirts, dagnabbit. Because they make you look so sure and ready and grown. And that makes me proud and tickled and teary.

We’ll need routine tomorrow and I don’t wear routine well. I’ll be down to minutes, rushing me, rushing you, sighing and apologizing for it. And Tucker—you’ll just smile and say, “That’s okay, Mommy.” And Case—I’ll do one small something, inside-out your socks for you, and you’ll say, “You’re the best Mommy ever.”

We’ll drop you off tomorrow, with fresh supplies and the shiny smiles of a new start. We’ll chat with your teachers and hug you and hug you again. We’ll walk away from the classroom door and the tears that I hope I’ll hold until that moment will topple and spill. And Jeff will rub my back and say, “Oh, Wife” (even though he’s been expecting this).

I know it’s a beginning but, to me, that moment thuds like an ending. I worry that I’m missing too much, that I’ve let another whole year slip away, that maybe I’ve failed you too many times. It’s an ambivalent dance; I can physically feel time racing. And I’m wonderstruck at the amazing little people you are.

This moment will happen tomorrow and next year’s tomorrow. But I know tomorrow will begin another amazing year. So this is what I wish for you.

I hope you always walk into learning with the starry-eyed eagerness that brought you to today. I hope you read all the books you can touch. Devour them. Sip them. Share them. Read them again.

If it’s numbers you love, use them. Master them. I know that I’m awfully clumsy with them, but Dad can help. Or we can always call Pop.

Tuck—you can have all the paper and pencils you want. Draw whenever you can (just not when your teacher is talking). When your teacher is talking, listen with your eyes first, then your ears. Remember that there’s just one her and a lot of yous, so be gentle.

Case—I know I’ve spent hours, maybe months, telling you not to touch everything in reach. I hope I haven’t crippled your curiosity. Keep curious. Ask every question. When you’re allowed to explore, take your time. I promise to try and rush you less.

You’re sharing the year with a lot of kids. You won’t agree with each other all the time. But you can almost always find one piece of common ground with almost anyone—even if it’s as small as having the same favorite color, the same tooth fairy fee or the same disgust for peas. Find that one thing.

Eat your fruits and veggies first. But don’t let the lunch bell ring before you’ve had your treat.

Tucker—I get on to you for being a bossy sprocket, for parenting your little brother and antagonizing and swatting at him when you think I’m not looking. But, you should know, he sees you as his fierce protector, his comfort, his best bud who always gets an extra sticker or toy just for him. And so do I. You may meet other kids who need that kind of partner, kids who need a louder voice.

Case—your silly has no limit. From food-flinging to ear-ringing, I’ve never seen someone entertain so well with a single fork. You’re our live wire with a contagious sparkle. And you’re not happy until everyone else is. This year will be no different. I hope, one day, you understand what a gift that is.

I hope you two keep an open mind and open ears. But stay locked to what you know is right in your gut.

Ugly words are never cool or powerful or right.

You (still) will not get any new techie toys this year. And you will live.

I hope you pitch a thousand sillies—but never at anyone else’s expense.

It won’t be perfect, this year. There will be messes and oopses and flubs. But we’ll look for the good, the helpers, the magic.

Disney Digression
Disney Digression

Because you’re still 7 and 4. I want you to laugh the length of 7 and 4. Run the width of them. I want you to create, stretch, get dirty—and take your shoes off before you come inside. I want you to have the time, the year of your lives.

And, tomorrow, when you lug in those brand new book bags, I hope you also carry in the precious assurance that you are wonderfully, wonderfully made. And that your Daddy and I love you more than you’ll ever know.


  1. Oh Mindy. Always making me cry. You make mommyhood look so beautiful. xoxo

    1. Mindy says:

      Aww, bud. You’ve seen some of our messy bits firsthand! But it is always beautiful.

  2. Andrea says:

    I need to start reading your blog from home. These mid-work cry fests are kinda embarrassing.

    1. Mindy says:

      It means a lot that you read it. 🙂

  3. Mary Madison says:

    Love it Min!! Crying my eyes out. so sweet.

    1. Mindy says:

      Thanks so much, May. Miss you!

    2. Mindy says:

      Thanks so much, May. Miss you!

  4. Jenni McKay says:

    Love this, Mindy! My Carter starts preschool next Thursday and I get all weepy and embarrassing every time I really think about it.

    1. Mindy says:

      I’ll be thinking about you next week!

  5. Carolyn Schweyher says:

    Tears, tears, tears!!! They grow up so fast Mindy. Savor every moment with these little guys. I can’t believe Case is already starting school:(

    1. Mindy says:

      I know. It flies so fast–even faster with the 2nd one.

  6. atticattackjack says:

    Hey Mindy!

    I was so happy to learn about your blog and found this entry especially poignant and meaningful. I sent it to my brother and sister-in-law who have 4 boys–my precious, energetic nephews–ages 8, 6, 4, and not quite 2. I also sent it to my sister and bro-in-law who have 3 children. In fact my 5 year old niece, Taylor had her first day of “real school” (Kindergarten) today too! It is absolutely perfect for Walker to read and relate to (and me for that matter); Taylor is their oldest and my Goddaughter and I’ve been on pins and needles all day thinking about her and wondering how she’s doing in her big, new environment. I think it surprised us all just how nostalgic, sentimental and emotional this milestone was and how hard it his us. I’ve driven Taylor to preschool for three years and it is hard to grasp how fast time flies.

    Needless to say, I really appreciate your post and its impeccable timing. I know my siblings will as well, and will certainly relate. I am happy to hear that you and yours are doing great and I hope to see you soon. In the meantime, though, please keep writing and updating your blog–I will be reading! 🙂

    Take Care,
    Liz Hodges

    1. Mindy says:

      This just made my day, Liz. So wonderful to hear from you. 4 (boys!) and 3? Bless their hearts.
      I hope Taylor had an awesome first day. Kindergarten is the most fun year! They are all lucky to have Aunt Liz.
      Thank you so much for reading and for sharing this. It means a lot. 🙂

  7. Mindy says:

    Reblogged this on my ft.notes and commented:

    a look back…

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