Back to School, Whaaa?

First things first … my latest release, REDEMPTION AT MIRABELLE should be in stores now!  No worries of running into the hoards of back to school shoppers as you rush out to buy it.  🙂 To celebrate, I’m giving away three copies from my back list, so check out my web site for past titles.

Only yesterday did it really sink in that my son and daughter, senior in high school and college, respectively, were heading back to school today.  I know. Where have I been for the past several weeks, right?

Well, where I’ve been is training for my 100 mile bike ride (coming up this Saturday).  Writing my story the SEAL OF DREAMS anthology.  Promoting my latest, and possibly my last, Mirabelle Island releases.  And lamenting the passage of summer.  For the first time in seventeen years the phrase “back to school” hasn’t sent rushes of adrenaline through me for weeks on end along with the realizations that I have to do this and buy that and take care of the other.

There was no calling around to find a store that carried an orange folder because a certain teacher required everything to be color coded. No stocking up on things for cold lunches.  No filling out of volunteer applications.  No clothes shopping. No prepping of back packs.  Nothing.  Nada. Zip.

My daughter took care of ordering all her books online and paid her tuition.  My son went to orientation on his own, bought all his school supplies himself several days ago and couldn’t care less if he had new “back to school” clothes.  I haven’t volunteered at school for years. And it’s been years since I’ve made a cold lunch.

I did laundry yesterday to make sure his dirty old back to school clothes clothes were clean.  That was it.

As I took the dogs for their walk this morning, it dawned on me that while I feel a little sad, I’m more than anything relieved to be in this new stage of my life. I wouldn’t trade these past seventeen years for anything in the world, but I’m looking forward to the future. The independence.  The doing for myself.

Maybe I’m jumping ahead of myself.  My son does still have one year left.  But I think I’m in the best year ever because my son has one year left. I’m not yet an emptynester.  I have time to adjust.  I have time to enjoy this last year.  So that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Enjoy it!  Every day.  Every moment.  That’s the pact I’m making with myself today!

What about you?  Did you just spend the last several weeks in a frenzy getting kids ready?  Does back to school to you mean more about a change in season than anything?  Happy, sad, indifferent?

Whatever stage you’re in, please enjoy your day!  Helen


About Helen Brenna

Helen Brenna is the RITA award winning author of romances for Harlequin's Superromance line. Three more books in her popular Mirabelle Island series will be release in July, August and September of 2011. For more information, check out her website at
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22 Responses to Back to School, Whaaa?

  1. Liz Selvig says:

    Hi Helen,
    This is a very nostalgic post for me because I’ve been an empty-nester for almost ten years. (In fact, I’m in the ‘my baby’s getting married in three weeks’ phase!) I was one of the strange mothers who disliked the first day of school. I loved summer and loved having my kids home with me. I hated sending them back into the clutches of the school teachers. Don’t get me wrong — I was never a home-schooling type nor would I have considered it — school was GREAT for my kids; but I was into all the summer stuff: Slip ‘n Slides, sleepovers, gardens. Even when my kids drove me nuts I liked them near by.

    I still love having them (and their spouses) near but I do admit the days of being sad they’re not living here are over. Empty-nesting is fabulous too. I guess the key is appreciating every stage of life — so my hat is off to you for knowing how wonderful this year is for you! Enjoy!

  2. Kathleen O says:

    I have been remembering back to the days when I had to get ready for school and now what the kids need to get ready for school, especially school supplies. The school actually supplied what we needed. well for jr and sr public anyway. High School, we had to get our own supplies. But now the kids have to pratically get everything. What do we pay school taxes for now… WOW
    I have got, read and loved Redemption at Mirabelle. Sorry to see this series end. Looking forward to see what is coming from you next Helen..

    • Helen Brenna says:

      Kathleen, I wasn’t kidding when I wrote calling around to find and orange folder. Sheesh, it can get complicated!

      And, wow, are you fast. Already have and read Redemption! Glad you enjoyed it. We can both look forward to what’s next! lol

  3. Kristina Mathews says:

    My kids have been back in school for three weeks now. We are getting into the routine and it’s great. Those last few weeks of summer were driving me nuts with the fighting between my two boys.

    My 8th grade son just recently informed me that I help too much. None of his friends mom’s are at school all the time. I kept from saying “If you hadn’t left your water bottle, permission slip, etc… I wouldn’t have to bring it to you.” But I am sad that he doesn’t want me around. My mom wasn’t able to drive me to and from activities, so I just didn’t do them. I rode the school bus my Senior year in high school. So he’s just going to have to suck it up and deal with a parent who is willing and able to be involved.

    I am looking forward to REDEMTION AT MIRABELLE. I have really enjoyed the others in the series.

    • Helen Brenna says:

      Hi Kristina. LOL,about your boys fighting. I remember that feeling, too, of desperately wanting school to start. Yeah, it is hard when they don’t want you around as much. The good thing is that his comment may actually be a sign that you’ve done your job well. He’s stretching his wings and learning how to be independent. Then again, staying involved is important, too. Good luck walking that fine line!

      Glad you’ve enjoyed Mirabelle! I’m already missing the island.

  4. “Back To School” has marked almost every stage of my life. Maybe it’s because I’ve always loved school. Does Fate work that way? We dropped our two granddaughters off this morning. I’ve taken their pictures in front of the school on the first day every year since they started school. I have similar pictures of their dad. Our nest was empty for a while, but a wise man once said, “Life is like a box of chocolates…” And I do love chocolate.

  5. Helen Brenna says:

    Kathy, back to school is always different for teachers, yes? Can just see you taking those pics of your grandkids. And, darn it, I should’ve taken one of my son this morning. He would’ve groaned to beat the band, but I would’ve love it! His last back to school pic!! Maybe tomorrow …

    • Absolutely take that BTS pic tomorrow. Frame it with the one from Kindergarten. (My son groaned to beat the band when I took the Kindergarten one.)

      When I was teaching I’d start dreaming about the first day at least 2 week in advance–always some disaster, like I wasn’t getting any books or my classroom was a storage closet or we had to move the school to a bowling alley. Oh, wait. The bowling alley wasn’t a dream. Never a dull moment when you teach on an Indian reservation.

  6. Leanne Banks says:

    Helen, good for you determined to enjoy every stage! I always had mixed feelings about the kids going back to school, happy, relieved, but a little sad. I’m an empty nester now too, and I must confess I enjoyed seeing the kids and parents do their back-to-school shopping. Brought back happy memories.<3


  7. Michele Benard says:

    My kids went back August 22 my daughter entering middle school so I took her clothes shopping ahhhhhhhh my son going onto first he told me I could pick out his clothes then after getting the generic list having to go back out to get the teacher’s list. It was a little sad not walking my daughter to her class my son started a brand new school it is a little bit nice to have quiet during the day

  8. Helen Brenna says:

    Hi Michele. Boys are so much easier than girls with the clothes shopping! If your son didn’t have all day kindergarten, this is the first time for you to have all day every day! That’s a weird adjustment, isn’t it? And middle school is a bit step. Good luck to both you and your daughter!

  9. michelehauf says:

    Helen, I’m SO GLAD you decided to do that 100 mile race. Go, you! I can’t even imagine, biking 100 miles. It’s seems unfathomable to me.

    I’ve been an empty-nester for a few years now, and while I wasn’t looking forward to it, I can say it’s awesome. No kids? That rocks. Sure, I miss them, and really appreciate when they stop by for supper or just to chat. But having the whole day to myself? I can leave at any moment and not worry about having to be around for a kid. I can listen to the music loud. I can read my story out loud (the cat’s do seem to enjoy it). I can make whatever I like for supper and not worry that one kid doesn’t like this or that. It’s very freeing. But at times, lonely, as well. So enjoy them while you still have them in the house. And then when they’re gone, enjoy that time to yourself.

  10. Helen Brenna says:

    I’m ATTEMPTING the 100 miler, Michele, and will do my best. I figure I may never have a better time than this, so, yep, I”m going for it!

    Listening to music loud … can’t remember the last time I did that. Springsteen here I come! 🙂

  11. Keri Ford says:

    Mine started back Mid-August. we’re several weeks in already. 🙂 we did a little back to clothes shopping. since he’s 4, I didn’t want to buy too much and have him growth spurt through it. Momma had different ideas and now we’re pretty well loaded in the clothes department.

    Instead of buying son school supplies, his preschool just has everyone pay a flat fee and that covers them for all they’ll need for the whole year. Back-to-School was mess free. son was ready to go back too. so no crying at drop off either!

    GOOD LUCK ON THE BIKE RACE. my bottom hurts already for you. 🙂

    • Helen Brenna says:

      Keri, sounds like things went smoothly. No crying at the bus stop is always a good thing! And thanks. With a gel seat and gel bike shorts, my bottom does okay on long distances! 🙂 Oddly enough, what really starts to hurt is my neck and upper back from having to look forward from a bent position for such a long time.

  12. kylie brant says:

    Oh sad here. Very very sad. Even got a little teary on the first day of workshop, LOL. The end of summer means back to work for me! It’s also sad when you do hit empty nest stage but you’ll be amazed at how quickly it becomes your new normal. I *love* having the family home but I’m finding that I love seeing them altogether elsewhere, too, where I don’t have to deal with the mess and the meals. Never thought I’d feel that way but there you go!

  13. Helen Brenna says:

    I thought of you, Kylie, as I was typing that post. Knew you’d be missing summer. And I know already I will enjoy not having to deal with messes and make the meals!! My daughter loves to cook. How much luckier could I be??

  14. Na S. says:

    I remember when I was in school, especially elementary and high school, back to school was a big deal. New clothes, new friends hopefully and a new beginning. The scary part is always the first week when you’re trying to fit in and after that it’s same old same old. I admit there are some perks to seeing school back in session, the malls and other places are free again!! Wishing everyone a great school year and for parents a great year as well 🙂

  15. Helen Brenna says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Na!

  16. Laney4 says:

    How did I miss this blog? YIKES! Me bad. Vewy vewy bad.
    That being said, you good, Helen. You must have completed your 100-mile bike ride by now. How did it go? How are the legs holding up? Did you sleep all day today? Inquiring minds want to know! Okay, okay. Just little ol’ me wants to know.
    I hope you had a lovely time.

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