Back to School Is Bittersweet By Kari Denison

Every fall since 2003 I have prepared my kids and myself for back to school.  This year’s back to school anticipation will be the last for my family (choking back the tears as I write this) as my youngest child will graduate in 2018.

I clearly remember the first day of kindergarten for both of my kiddos.  I’m pretty sure I was more scared than either one of them.  It goes without saying, we all survived and thrived the trials and successes of school.  Being a part of their education and extra-curricular activities was and is a high priority for me.

During their grade school years I volunteered in the classroom and on field trips when the opportunity arose.  I loved the involvement and seeing my kids at school.  As the years went by, the enthusiasm to have mom volunteer or come have lunch dwindled.  I was very blessed to have the opportunity to go to the C.M. Russel Museum, Giant Springs Park, Showdown Ski Hill, East Fork Dam, Hutterite Colony, Kiwanis Park, City Park and even the North Pole with my kids’ classes. The last school field trip I took was with my son’s 6th grade class.  I volunteered for Mr. P’s class to adventure with 100+ 6th graders to the ZooMontana.  At the time, I didn’t realize it would be the last trip – nonetheless, I fully embraced the adventure and enjoyed it very much.

As the kids got older, the schedules got busier and busier, which inadvertently led to time going warp speed.  Swim team, wrestling, hockey, tennis, 4-H, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, rifle club, sailing camp, fishing, soccer, youth archery, dance, cheerleading, golf and skate boarding kept us trying new things and crammed our schedule busy, busy, busy!

So here we are.  The start of another school year and the start of the last school year for me.  My son is a senior.  I am ready and at the same I am not ready.  I have no regrets.  I’ve been involved and committed to my kids’ education.  I made it practice to praise and thank the teachers who gave energy and time to teaching my kids and others.  This has been the greatest adventures of all.

My suggested story for back to school was a favorite of my son’s when he was much younger – Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard.  A title I may delve into next year when the empty nest sits in next year is My Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space: The Amazing Adventures of An Ordinary Woman by Lisa Scottoline.                    .

Have a wonderful school year ya’all!