And Just like that…

they’re off and running. Growing up. Disobeying my explicit instructions to remain my babies forever. A 2nd grader and a kindergartener. When and how did this happen? Wasn’t it just yesterday I brought karissa home and wondered how on earth i would ever deal with a newborn and a 2 year old? (And oddly enough – i guess blog9that IS what i have to deal with, all over again…) Weren’t we just rejoicing at karissa being able to hear us after her tube surgery, making small but sure steps forward in hours upon hours of speech therapy? And I could swear it was just this morning that they were bugging me to do Bella Dancerella for the 529th time this week…

How does this happen? how does life move so fast while seemingly taking blog12 forever to survive the days? How are my babies growing up right before my eyes?

blog10 But i am glad that they both seem to be so very excited for school starting. No tears here! (well, except from kaylen who had to suffer not just one meltdown when kealey’s bus left but ANOTHER one when karissa’s left a few hours later. awesome fun.) Kealey leaving was emotional – but just in a quietly choked up kind of way. Just watching her get bigger and older every year. I hardly had timeblog7 to think about Karissa’s school-going because we had therapy from the minute we got back in the house until I took Karissa to the bus stop. CHA-OS. What else is new around here though? I think I managed to get some lunch in her in between keeping kaylen out of the therapist’s huge bag of special toys and talking with kendall’s nutritional therapist about all her poop issues of last week.

So we make it to the bus stop and karissa is posing for pictures and then the bus comes and she runs right up the steps – so proud to FINALLY be getting on the bus ON HER OWN, and going to school LIKE HER SISTER,blog6 and not having to be ONE OF THE BABIES anymore. She just marches right up those steps with her huge Barbie backpack on with not even a backwards glance – so excited for what this new part of her life will bring, not even a question in her mind that this is the bus to school, to learning, to growing up. And up until this point I have been relatively nonchalant about karissa’s going to school. Not NEARLY as emotional as I was about Kealey’s first day of Kindergarten. But it started to hit me yesterday as we were walking around Karissa’s room, seeing her nametag on her desk, and her little attendance magnet, blog5 and her space to hang her backpack – that that’s MY baby boogerton they’re talking about. My lovable huggable gullible little baby who would surely walk off with any stranger who offered her a piece of candy.

and i saw her on that bus, happily picking out a spot on the OTHER side of the bus in the back and i went and banged on the window to get her attention to come sit where i could see her. And she blog4 giggles that toothless grin she now has and plasters her face to the window and blows me kisses and it’s all I can do to not run up the steps and grab her and tell her i was just kidding she doesn’t actually get to go to school this year she has to stay home with me for longer. But i don’t. I take her picture until i can’t see her waving any longer, knowing she is giggling away with Samara and Emma crammed in three to a seat, bouncing with the excitement of FINALLY blog3 going to school. And I throw the babies in the car so i can speed like a bat outta you know where to the school and beat off the other parents for a parking space so i can video taking her first walk into school. And her bus pulls up and she gets off – excited but not surprised to see that I have made it to school also, and into the building she heads with only a quick look back to yell “love you momma!!!” and blog2 blow me one more kiss before following the other herd of children into their new homes away from homes – their classrooms.

I know I wrote kealey a letter on her first day of Kindy, but Karissa is such a different kind of drumbeat, I decided i better write it to her teacher.

Dear Mrs. K –

I know I met you yesterday at the walkthrough and we briefly discussed Karissa’s IEP/learning situation and introduced her to you, but I didn’t get enough time.

Let me tell you about this amazing little girl that you have the privilege of having in your classroom. She is nothing short of a miracle, that one. From her very first moments of life, born into a pool, swimming in my arms, she has “just kept swimming”. She was born with a spinal defect affecting her hips which docs weren’t sure what the prognosis for her would be. We never knew if she would have problems walking, or running or riding a bike with her sister. Sometimes the jury is still out on that one…but I digress. She endured a lot of pokes and prods her first couple years of life, and after a hearing test confirmed that she was indeed almost completely deaf in both ears , she had surgery to drain the fluid and put tubes in her ears and she could finally HEAR me telling her I loved her, or singing to her at night. She could finally start to communicate back with us in her own way. And she swam on – through weekly therapy sessions and group therapy sessions and group play sessions and special preschools and finally regular preschool – always just a little bit behind, always having to work just a little bit harder but she has DONE IT.

You will probably only understand about 3/4ths of what she says. Missing her top four teeth does not help this at all. Speaking about complete nonsense most of the time doesn’t help either. But her mind works in amazing ways. The reason you won’t know what she is saying is because she is asking about something that happened to her (or maybe she saw it in a movie or just heard me talking about it) 5 or 9 months ago. Maybe it was last year, maybe it was yesterday. She doesn’t have a concept of time. in her world she doesn’t need to. Just so you have that straight. Other things that don’t matter in Karissa’s world : going to the bathroom when it’s convenient, rules of any kind that she didn’t herself make up, laws of gravity, and sleep.

You see, she’s really a princess. A pretty pink pageant party princess. Trifles of real life don’t concern her. She is here simply to grace you with her presence. And grace you she will. She may not seem to ever stop talking, but if you sit and listen to her, you’ll hear how much she loves everyone and everything. If you pull her up onto your lap, you’ll get the best hug you’ve ever gotten. If you melt into her embrace you’ll be greeted with one of the slobberiest loudest kisses on your cheek you’ll ever get from a human. And she will LOVE YOU FOR LIFE. This little girl has more love in her pinky finger than most people have in their lifetime.

She’s either going to be a dancer or a princess someday, so it’s ok if she never learns her numbers or letters (I know because I asked her). Or maybe a mommy. Either way.

i have no doubt that if your fine educational establishment could manage to lose Kealey on her third day of kindergarten – my responsible one, my one who craves order and lines and boundaries – that i will get many a call from you that Karissa is not with her class but you’re pretty sure she’s somewhere in the building. She likes to wander. Her head is firmly in the clouds and not much that you say or do can get it out of that. You just have to go with it.

There’s so much more I could tell you about this beautiful amazing little girl. She’s so special and precious. I know you’ll teach her lots of things that she needs to know, but just blog1 know that I am the one who taught her how to shake her groove thang, how to do her pageant face and twirl, who taught her how to laugh and laugh at everything and laugh loud because its so much funner when you have to throw your head back and laugh. So you go ahead and try to teach her numbers and letters and how to spell her own name and I’ll keep teaching her the other important stuff.

Take good care of her please.

Just please please please don’t lose her.


karissa’s mommy


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  1. OK SO i am crying and crying and then wonder Did u really send this letter to her teacher?

  2. I love it. I didn’t cry when my little boy headed to school yesterday but I got misty eyed reading about your baby going to school today. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I cannot believe that Karissa (and Cali) are now kindergartners!?! Your letter is adorable…you inspire me to write letters for my children as well, except I’m not nearly as articulate as you. I hope they had a wonderful day. I hope to see them soon…possibly Awana?
    Smiles, Faith 🙂

  4. Simply amazing. Terra, you are such an inspiration to me. You always manage to bring me around to deal with the most important things instead of everything I feel is important. I will be taking that idea of writing to my kids on their first day of school. I love it so much. I’m always praying!! Love, love, love the blog and updates. Teresa (HCS c/o 94 just in case)