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The Back To School Stories

As I was eating lunch today I was thinking about how smooth back to school was for my kids this year. 

Almost too smooth - like when is it going to be tough? 

It obviously hasn't always been this way. There've been tears and frustrations and conflict and really rough transitions, especially for Simon. 

So far this year has been calm and, dare I say, happy. 

Well, you know, except for my own personal anxieties and such. Ha.   

Sometimes the hard part comes creeps in a after they've had a chance to acclimate to the new schedule. Sometimes Simon's tics (what he calls his "habits") get more exaggerated as new stressors come up.

But so far, so good

Simon was the first to head back to school last week. 

He's in the 7th grade this year. Around here that's the middle year of middle school. 

He's back with his regular crew of awesome teachers and aides. He's got one main teacher and two aides for four periods (language arts + math + support periods) then he has science (I think his favorite) and his elective is culinary arts. 

On the first day back at school he got out of the car on the first day and exclaimed to Chris and me, "there's no place like school."

And he smiled all the way in to get his schedule. 

He had a little bit of anxiety the night before when Aaron and I were tucking him in - totally normal pre-teen stuff. It might have been about a girl. He might of been showing us her photo in his yearbook. He might have been asking questions about what to do when he saw her again. 

(Dear Universe, any girl would be freaking insanely lucky to be adored by this guy. His heart is so full and he sparkles like nothing you've ever seen.)

When I picked him up after that first day he was super happy. That girl might have walked by him when he was in line for his schedule and said hi. 

A little kindness goes a very long way. 

Go Simon go. 

Anna started Kindergarten this week. 

She was ready. She asked for a new purple backpack with pink and blue and white polka dots and a cupcake embroidered on the back. She was excited and so looking forward to seeing her friends that she had made in the Pre-K program at this school last year. 

She had literally been counting down the days. 

We took her to the open house on Monday to meet her teacher, see her classroom, drop off her supplies and generally get back in the building. In the afternoon she met with her teacher in a one-on-one sit down meeting to check out her skills and give the teacher a chance for meet her individually. I sat in the hall in a kindergarten chair and waited patiently for her to come out. 

On Tuesday they started with an all-school assembly in the gym and then the kids walked with their teachers to their classrooms. There were multiple times Anna looked over at me during the assembly, checking to see if I was still there. I stuck around and walked with her to her class, holding her hand the whole way. Once the kids were all in the classroom the teacher had them sit on the floor and she started the day by writing "Be Brave" on the board. 


It's something I so wish for both my kids. The ability to be brave in all the best ways (and to know that being brave doesn't mean you always win in the traditional sense). There are so many different kinds of bravery in our world - in doing things you might be afraid of/stepping outside your comfort zone, in standing up for others, in believing in yourself. Such a wise, wonderful lesson to begin the first day of Kindergarten.  

Go Anna go. 

Here's to a great school year for all our kids. 


Heads up that four new digital products went up on Tuesday. You can check them all out in the digital section of my shop

Here's my favorite one this week called Everyday Life Cursive - I used it on the photo at the top of this post of Anna. I also think it looks pretty cool really big across a photo: 

Everyday Life Cursive from

Also, I shared an image of the first Story Stamp™ set on Facebook and Instagram yesterday. The theme? Prompts

In future months I will just be sharing these sets on the day they go live (the 15th).

If you've already signed up you are all set and these stamps will start shipping next week. In addition you'll have access to the Subscriber-Only area on Monday (pretty sure this will be via the My Classes tab under your user name). 

And speaking of classes, I did a quiet launch of my new workshop Lens Of Joy. You can check all the details about this workshop (a four-week class running during the month of November) here. I'll post about it again next week.  

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47 thoughts

  1. AnnieP says…

    Hi Ali, good for you for including Chris in your photos and comments! He may no longer be your husband, but he is your kids' dad and a part of your life. Your kids are obviously thriving, thanks to your generosity and parenting skills. Well done!

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. mwear says…

    We've also had such a great and calm year to the beginning of the school year. We had a very rough year last year with my oldest. We changed schools and it's been amazing. It makes a world of difference to have school administration/ staff/ and teachers advocate for their students. It hasn't been perfect, there have been things here and there that happen, but they are manageable and my child is HAPPY! We see it daily. It's exactly how it should be. We, as parents, shouldn't have to worry about depression in our pre-teens. So glad to hear that Simon is thriving. And thank you for the inspiration you share daily.

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. murrjani says…

    I would love to see a script like this as a whole quote or saying.. Love the way this looks!

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. crazystampwoman says…

    My ASD son - same age as Simon - also has a special friend that he was anxious to see back at school. He and Mary share a love for Pokemon and Skylanders, so their friendship is a bit easier than it would be with other kids. If Simon feels comfortable and likes that girl, then I say, "Yay, Simon!"

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. cele says…

    I would love to have a stamp that says " Let your heart be light" for Christmas. I loved the one from SC last year with the heart in the middle of it but did not have subscription so couldn't get it.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…

      I have something coming out that you might like :). It's not a stamp but it does include that sentiment.

  6. J3SS1C4 says…

    This post is so sweet! I think it's the cutest thing that Simon has a crush! And I'm glad they're both settling into school easily :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. CNDIHRTRN says…

    Oh how this brings back years, now that mine are grown and in their late 20's and I am soon to be a grandma. How i regret not writing these moments and memories down.... Love the story, I feel the emotion with every word. Sigh!

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. younggirl says…

    Awesome, awesome! Glad their transition back to school went well. My son is also starting Kindergarten and I've been amazed by how smoothly it's gone as well. :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. Kelly_Rell says…

    Ali, I have followed your life's journey for many years and this post was so poignant for me - today, in this year.
    Below is the letter I wrote my son for his 14th birthday, a day which follows the anniversary of his father's death ('12) and a few days before the start of school. Those words "be brave" rings true this year, his first year of high school (in a new school & district) and in life for myself.
    Thank you for the many years you have shared your stories! (Some words in this letter were "borrowed" from Cathy Zielske)

    Dear Sweet Boy of Mine,

    You are 14, 14!

    My gosh, where has the time gone. I love you so very much. All the choices I’ve made this year and those choices that may be made in the future, I do in the best interest of us, in our new normal. I know sometimes that is hard to believe – I know I’m not perfect but I will always try to do my best.

    You have such a mind of your own, a strong personality and a great power of will, especially in carrying the grief of losing your father. He would tell you that life doesn’t offer a connect-the-dots to happiness. Keep your heart and mind open to what comes. Don’t be guided by ideas about what society tells you your life should be. Just go, soak it in, see what is true and live your amazing life.

    You are such a truly unique, genuine and thoughtful young man (swallowing hard here). Over the years you have strengthened your own, multifaceted voice while being accepting of others. However, you still need to strive to be your best and work hard – daddy would tell you if your work goes unprepared and undone, your thoughts are stifled. Do your work…(hint, hint)

    It is remarkable how you have changed and GROWN over these last years. Continuing to go forward will take an enormous amount of courage. Even though daddy isn’t physically here, he is in your heart. You carry his spirit and love with you always – in your sense of adventure and delight and play.

    For these 14 years, you have shown us how great it is to be in your world. We are going to be amazed by you, Nate. But this should come as no surprise.

    “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
    ~Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

    There are 2 people that will always love you.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…

      That was lovely.

  10. papergoddess says…

    just catching up on your blog after vacation, love all the stories and what I am seeing. Relate to the kindergarten as my nephew, whom I'm very close to, started Kindergarten this year. We were kinda worried bcz he was going to a new place where his daycare friends wouldn't be, he is also the child of divorce, he has a lot of energy which needs direction...but amazingly, he loved it, was smiles all the first week, said he made new friends and that he loves the bus! phew!

    Reply 0 Replies

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