Welcome to the anti-climax!

Ok, after the pandemonium of the last two posts, I have a feeling this one may suffer by comparison! So if you feel the need to yawn, or happen to nod off in the middle of it, I’ll try not to take it too personally.

Let me start by telling all of you that the response to “One Last Look” has been unprecedented, and so incredibly, deeply satisfying to me. I thank you for sharing your hearts and feelings about a subject that obviously, a lot of people can relate to. And as for the complete anarchy that erupted all over that last post…. well, let’s just say that unless I post pictures of my hair on fire or announce that Russ is the illegitimate son of Bill Gaither and we are in the middle of a tawdry divorce, there ain’t nothing that can follow that one!  

So… how was Madi’s first day of school?
Why just fine, thank you for asking!

She is officially a sophomore now, one step up from the lowly freshman status of last year. I know she is ready to see all of her friends, but neither one of us is looking forward to getting back on the hamster wheel of the school schedule. She managed to get up in plenty of time to get ready in spite of the fact that during the last few months her day has generally started around the crack of noon.  She waffled over what to wear and spent a little extra time on her makeup and hair– frankly, she looked darling. (Madi has this exotic kind of look that her garden variety, WASP-y mom would have killed for at that age!) I did notice that she was uncharacteristically a little nervous, and as we drove the short five minute trip to her school I kept sneaking sidewise glances at her, noticing her jiggling knee and the way she checked herself in the mirror and fussed with her lip gloss. I know she’ll be fine as soon as she gets there and sees her first friend.

It’s so funny, at this age it is so much more about who is in her classes than the subject itself! I know she has some real concerns about her photography class in particular, because it’s looking like she is going to be the only sophomore in a sea of juniors and seniors. It is a highly-coveted slot, and I’m proud of her because I suspect her art teacher from last year pulled some strings to get her in. But Madi isn’t really feeling all warm and special about being singled out- I think she’s worried that she will be the ‘newb in the corner’ as she puts it, that doesn’t have anybody to talk to. 

Now if any of you have ever met Madi on the road, or saw how she handled herself on television during the Great SharkBite Adventure, then you will be as dumbfounded as I am to think that she is seriously sweating making new friends or meeting new people. She is so poised and polished for her age, what could possibly be the problem? But then, I remembered what it felt like to be 16. Do you? I can close my eyes and recall just how tongue-tied and dorky I felt sometimes, how sure I was that everyone was staring at the big zit on my forehead, and how hard it was to approach a table full of girls I didn’t know and try to make conversation. (Wait– that wasn’t high school, that was last month at BlogHer!)

Anyway, I knew better than to try to talk her out of her nervousness, though I was dying to. I tried to down- play it, saying things like, “Yeah, the first day is always kind of nerve-wracking, isn’t it?” instead of what I really wanted to say which would have basically been a halftime-in-the-locker-room motivational speech about how GREAT this year was going to be and how FABULOUS she looked and all of the FUNFUNFUN she had to look forward to! Discretion may be the better part of valor, but for me it’s the hardest part of this whole motherhood gig. 

We pulled up to the school, she gathered her purse and backpack and as she climbed out, I casually said, “Ok then, have a great day and I’ll see you this afternoon.”  It’s not like kindergarten, when I could walk her in and hang around until I knew she was settled in and comfortable. I have to let her do this all by herself, and if she feels awkward and insecure, she has no one there to smooth it over and make it better. No one but herself, that is. Which is more than enough. But still.

Those little junior/senior weasels in that photography class had better be friendly. I’d hate to have to take my garden variety, WASP-y self up there and open up a big ol’ can of gospel whoop-a** on ‘em.


**She just LOVES it when I bust out the camera to capture these special moments…


**Humoring me with a fake smile. (“Hurry up, Mom!”)


**She chews her lip when she’s nervous. (Seriously– how cute is that tiny nose stud?!)

19 Responses

  1. rockin robyn

    I must compliment you on your parenting/relationship that – I as an outsider sees… I invision that you not only are a mother to your girls but that you are their best friend as well. That is mighty kewl and special and in these times, at these ages of teen-age rebellion, God has surely blessed you and Russ with some wonderful, special girls and they with some awesome parents.

    …although that first picture kind of looks like she is saying ‘you had to advertise to the world {your blog} that we were bra shopping and now you want to take a picture….

    Thank you Tori for sharing your family with us!

  2. tori

    Oh rockin robyn, I am flying by the seat of my pants every day with the mothering thing! And it changes all the time. Sometimes I’m the cool mom, sometimes I’m the bedtime police, sometimes I’m the fun one, sometimes I’m the nag… God did bless us with extraordinary girls– I’m just trying my best not to screw ‘em up too badly. Or at least raise them to be productive citizens so they can get good jobs and pay for their own therapy!

  3. BrownEyedGirl

    Your parenting method certainly works. I love your comment on trying your best not to screw them up. My methods are a bit different too. I always say that my kids are turning out pretty well despite having me for a mother. It will be interesting to see my kids parenting techniques.
    Love the back to school pictures. I wonder if my son would be upset if I followed him to college to get pictures?? LOL
    FYI regarding kids leaving for college – worst day of your life!! I feel like someone died. Geez, I’m crying again typing this. I was good until I watched him pull out of the driveway yesterday.
    Anyway….. I hope that photography class went better than Madi hoped. I know she’ll fit right in!
    I’m loving these blogs Tori!! :o)


  4. meb

    Okay, I am one of those lurkers who has been reading what you write since your days on Music City Moms. I have to say, as an older mom (well older than most of her friends moms) of an 8 year old daughter, I can only imagine what I’ll be going through when she reaches the same age as your girls. At least I have somewhat of an idea of what to expect.

    I also had to tell you, that on my blog I have a link to yours. And encourage people to visit yours and others. Not that I reach many people with mine, but it is there.

    And to both you and Russ, you are an encouragement to a lot of people. Thank you. Not to get all mushy, but his song “Farther On” which I heard for the first time back in 1990, spoke to my heart and helped change my life. I’ve been a fan ever since.

    I look forward to the next post.

  5. belinda

    She is absolutely adorable and the sweetest thing! Hey, I remember being nervous on those first days of the school year, even though it was so very long time ago. I know she will be fine and go in there to that photography class and win all those upper classmen over. I love her nose stud! Of course I dont’ think it would look that cute on me, but it looks great on her. Love the pictures!

    Tori, you and Russ are the best! You have done such a great job with the girls and it shows. Other parents could learn a lot from both of you.

    meb – I listened to that song just this morning, it is a great song and blesses me every time I hear it. Actually I have had RT’s CD We Will Stand playing to and from work every day this week, what a great way to start and end a work day. Great CD and great way to get going in the morning.

  6. Jozet at Halushki

    Good lord, but your girls are gorgeous!

    And that Mom and Dad post? You knocked it out of the park.

    I did receive “that call” nine years ago, and my dad was gone. My last memory is of him driving away from my house, me standing on the stoop. Our last conversation was about something mundanely ordinary. Now thinking back on it, it was the most love-filled conversation I ever had with him.

    Home run on that post. Bittersweet and wonderful.

  7. Phyllis

    Oh my, how I remember the “first day jitters”. You go girl, you did good with the Mom stuff again. :) If those junior/senior weasels in photography class don’t treat our Madi right, just let us know and we will form a posse! Seriously, she is a lovely girl and if she is anything like her Dad she is precious as well. Haven’t met you in person yet Tori, but you seem sweet as well. So, I am sure she will be just fine. How sweet of you to hold back and not do the half-time speech. You have more self control than I would have. LOL

  8. tori

    BrownEyedGirl-I’m telling you, I am going to have to gear up for the leaving-for-college thing. I may have to be sedated. FYI– saw your cute picture and just wanted you to know that God was aiming at me with that gorgeous head of curly hair and obviously missed and it landed on you. I want it back.

    meb– WELCOME! Seriously, I do the Happy Dance when someone de-lurks! Thank you for your kind words about “Farther On”- that is one of my favorite lyrics of all time.

    belinda– Of course you think she is the sweetest thing, she text-messages you every day! (Madi loves her some belinda!)

    Joset at Halushki–Bless you and everything you stand for.
    (Ok, the rest of you blog neophytes may not know this, but we have been visited by blogging royalty– Joset is one of my favorites, bar none, I’m thrilled she commented. Check out her writing, she is incredible.)

    Phyllis– Thank you, if I need a posse I want you to ride shotgun.

  9. auburn60

    I am going to repeat these phrases: ‘You will be fine’
    ‘It will be OK ‘ and then ‘She is so ready’ for the next two years, until Madi leaves for college.
    I am going to point to myself and say ‘See, I survived–twice!’
    I’m going to quote that great philosopher (Charlotte) and remind you of the circle of life.
    You will not believe me. You will feel empty for a while.
    Then you will be proud of how she survives and grows independent–until the day she tells you she’s moving 900 freakin’ miles away to somewhere like Boston. :)
    But you will survive that,too.

  10. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Oh my goodness, before a week is out, our Madi will be the bell of the ball in that photography class. She is beautiful, inside and out and has captivating charm. I just love her.
    I remember those first-day-of-school days so well….and the going-off-to-college days. And then the weddings, too. Gracious, I am moved to tears thinking about them and would like to start all over again. All I can say to you girls is: enjoy every minute of these years; you’re making memories….for you and for them.

  11. trishARKANSAS

    WOW! I have been viewing your BLOG and remeniscing about my children and going to camp, beaching at ST. Simon’s Island in Georgia, and first days at school. Now my girl’s are starting their junior year in high school and their freshman year in college and no they don’t want mommy holding their little hands as they walk into the school. That sure would boost their popularity but not in the way that they would like and my high school Junior could say farewell to being th Junior class president.

  12. BrownEyedGirl

    God sure did Bless me with curls , Tori. Having kids gave them to me. I can fluff it to “Rosanne Rosanadana” in a heartbeat!! LOL Remember her??

  13. tori

    auburn– I’m gonna hold you to that.
    Momma Lloyd–She grudgingly said today was ,”A little better…” I think we’re ok! trishARKANSAS–WELCOME! Woo pig sooie! Yeah, they kinda frown on the handholding thing at this age… although Charlotte still lets me, God bless her!
    BrownEyedGirl– “It’s always something!”

  14. Phyllis R

    Ok, it is after school time…how did the day go for Madi? Just been thinking about her today.

  15. tori

    Phyllis R– Well…. I’m not getting a whole lot of details at this point! I did the usual Q and A in the car and she said that it was “a little better”. Said she got paired up with someone for a class project in photography who was nice and also said that another girl “talked to her some.”
    She seems kind of low-key and quiet– not sad or depressed, just still getting her feet under her, I guess. Which is why I would not be 16 again for like, A BILLION DOLARS.

  16. gracelynn

    Tori you are an absolutely wonderful mother and you and Russ are fantastic parents. Believe me, I deal with parents every day that could care less whether their child passes the test that determines whether they graduate from high school. Literally. I actually managed to get 30 parents to show up for open house tonight. (That’s out of the approximately 120 kids I teach now BTW). I was just ecstatic to have that many come – usually I’m lucky to get 10 at best. And some were parents I ACTUALLY NEED TO SEE because I’ve taught their little monsters – um I mean angels LOL – the past two years and need to warn them about this major exam so I don’t get killed in 4 months after they take the test and don’t make a 150 to pass. (Yes they have to make a 150 or higher to pass this state exam – that’s why it is very stressful for me as a teacher) I’m sure Madi had a terrific day but the first day is stressful for the students and the teachers. (And the administration too for that matter) I hope the person she’s paired up with is a reliable partner. The pictures are perfect. I wish I had a camera on some of the faces of the kids I saw with their parents tonight. One practically fainted when his mom told him he had me again this year for computers LOL. Middle school drama naturally. We’d have gotten some great shots for the yearbook tonight LOL. And you talk about handholding – these kids get annoyed just knowing the parents are within 100 feet of them, walking them around to the rooms. LOL It’s hard to stand there at the door with a straight face at times.

    And I’m with you – I would not be 16 again for all the money in the world! No thank you! LOL Been there, done that…and am very thankful that it is over and done with.

  17. Barbara M. Lloyd

    One thing I have noticed about your lurking posters, they know good music when they hear it…especially the terrific voice that sings it! I would be less than, er…hmmm…uh…a fan if I had not noticed this.

  18. Phyllis R

    I am glad that the day went well for her. :)

  19. LindaB

    I’d be 16 again……..FOR FIVE BUCKS! And I’ll give you change!

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