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Reflections After the First Day of School

Today I started my fourteenth year at O. A. Carlson High School and it was a wonderful day.  I am truly blessed to work in such an amazing school.  I am surrounded by exceptional coworkers and students.  I always look forward to the first days of school.  It is great to visit and catch up with students that I last conversed with in June.  I also enjoy helping new students find their way around a large, new school.  Everyone starts the year fresh with a clean slate.  I hope everyone has a great year at Carlson High School.

Today I also celebrated another first day of school.  September 6th, 2011 marked my third year as a parent of a school aged child.  I am so proud of my little second grader as she starts at Chapman Elementary in Rockwood (another exceptional school within the Gibraltar School District).  I really can not believe how quickly time flies.  It seems like it was just yesterday Chloe was sleeping on my chest or I was changing her dirty diaper.  Next year my youngest will start kindergarten and I really think it will hit me that my little ones are not-so-little anymore.

Ready for 2nd Grade!

So along with all the normal sappy "back to school" feelings I have tonight relating to my own children, I happen to stumble across this article by LZ Granderson via and became even more emotional.  If you have yet to read any of Granderson's work you are missing out on some great writing.  He is a Michigan guy that writes for ESPN and contributes to CNN as well.  Be prepared, the article will pull at your heart strings.

It is a simple lesson really, one we have all heard many times before.  But how often do we ignore the lesson?  Life is precious, it can change in a second.  Instead of enjoying each day we often stress, complain and scream about things that are really minor when stepping back and looking at the big picture.  I am just as guilty as anyone.  This past weekend I "blew up" over a stupid cell phone bill.  Looking back it is really not a big deal at all.

Granderson reminds us to enjoy the little things; planting a kiss on your baby girl's forehead as you tuck her in to bed, holding hands with your spouse while taking a walk,  calling mom just to see how her day went, tickling your four-year-old son to hear his infectious cackle, having a beer with your old man while watching the game, saying "good morning" and asking a co-worker how their weekend was.  The list goes on and on.   Granderson says it best, "Simple gestures really, but I can tell you from experience that no matter how big or small the tragedy is, these simple gestures are what people in mourning want most -- one more phone call, a shared laugh, a kiss on the cheek."

I am not the cynic Mr. Granderson mentions in his piece, I really do not care if others think his piece (or mine) is "light or fluffy," more than anything it is true.  I do not believe in living my life in fear, but I do fear what my last interaction could be with those I love.  For this reason, I vow to enjoy each day and take advantage of more of the "little things" in life.  I will not stress over minor bumps in the road.  Most importantly I will enjoy each day I spend with friends and loved ones.


  1. Well said my friend....well said!

  2. Mike, well said. We lost my Mike's brother Andrew almost 2 years ago at the tender age of 23...and it is exactly as you say about the simple things being what we miss.

  3. Oh, and are kids are on the same track school wise. Ryan is in 2nd grade this year...and Stephanie is in 4K so next year will be all day K for her too...she will be 5 next week, so she JUST missed the K cut off, you have to be 5 by 9/1 here. Emotionally I think she is better off in 4K yet, even though she does a little daycare too and still has some long's less academic focus and she seems to pick things up just from being surrounded by them anyway. I can't hardly remember life before the public schools because Ryan started just a day or so after his 3rd birthday due to the school has been a part of almost my entire parenting career!

  4. Chloe is young for her grade (11/30 birthday) but here in MI you can go all the way until December 1 for the age cut-off. I can't believe they will both be in school all day next year Michelle. I know we have both said this many times before.....but time just flies by I swear.


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