So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

Two years ago, my oldest started kindergarten. This year, my youngest starts. In any given year, school comes with so many new experiences from getting on a school bus to getting off with unknown classmates, teachers, lunch lines, and hallways. My youngest will begin this journey of countless uncharted experiences during a pandemic. No matter what, I would have had mixed emotions about her starting kindergarten, but this year is particularly challenging.

RELATED: Dear Kindergartner, I Could Not Love You More

It feels like the end of one stage of life and the beginning of another. I always envisioned my husband and me doing a happy dance when this window of time that included sleepless nights, toddler years with temper tantrums, and years and years of diapers was over. But, the reality is that the hard moments from this stage of parenting are kind of a blur and what is tangible to me are the adorable moments of childhood. I instead focus on the morning snuggles, the silly play, the chubby cheeks when they smile, and the feeling of how much life changed for the better when we became a family of three, then four.

Two years ago when my oldest started elementary school, which was a whole new unknown for all of us, we made and wore what we called “together bracelets.”

To make these, we each chose a color of embroidery thread to represent us. At school or at work, when any of us felt nervous or missed each other, we would see the colors of the bracelet to help us feel connected. Last year, my daughter had fun knotting and designing her own embroidery thread bracelet with the colors we chose: red, yellow, blue, and black.

RELATED: 5 Books To Read With Your Newly-Minted Kindergartener

It worked. It was a little something we’ve worn the past two Septembers (and beyond) that served as a tangible connection to each other. This year, the bracelet will have a whole new meaning. Our family has been together every day for five months. We’ve been a bubble of love, stress, exhaustion, and hope. And now, for the first time, our bubble will be stretched in four different directions. The bracelet is a way of thinking of each other during the moments that are hard. Because, for all of us, there will be those moments.

But the bracelet is also a way to feel the strength that comes from family and serves as an inspiration to help us find our own strength within.

RELATED: The Two Cent Fix For Back-To-School Anxiety

This year, my children chose to make the bracelets a little bit differently by having a different color bead represent each of us instead of a color of thread. The sentiment and support are the same, but it feels right to have a unique bracelet this year because 2020 is so different from the previous years. The project was easy to do with any beads that are big enough to fit over embroidery thread. My oldest had the idea to do multiple embroidery threads knotted together around the beads so we would stay together as beads, and it would be extra strong.

RELATED: You May Not Get the Best Parts of Kindergarten, But You’ll Get the Best Parts of Me As Your Teacher

When I look at my bracelet, I hope it does keep us together and is extra strong this year. Having both my kids head off to school for the first time has so many emotions, then when you add in a pandemic, well to put it simply, we’ll take any help we can get. And for our family, this little bracelet helps.

Katie Coppens

I’m a mom, a middle school science teacher, and a children’s book author. I write books that teach kids STEM-themed concepts, including "The Acadia Files" chapter books series and the educational cookbook "Geology is a Piece of Cake." For more information on my publications please go to http://www.katiecoppens.com" or follow me on Twitter @Katie_Coppens.

Don’t Let Anyone Rush You, Mama

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother with two kids at home relaxing

From the moment our children are born, other people make it challenging to stay in the present moment—they start asking questions that look forward instead of at the now we are in. Can you believe how big she’s getting, where did your newborn go? Oh my goodness, he’ll be walking any day now! Are you thinking about preschool? What will you do when they’re both in school? What will you do when your baby goes to college? While these questions may come with good intentions, they’re not helpful at all. We moms need to be allowed to be fully in...

Keep Reading

Dear Child, God Sees All of You—And So Do I

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mom and young son painting together

Math has always come easily to him. Even from the beginning stages when we counted wooden blocks on the living room floor, the numbers just came to him. “How many blocks are there?” I asked him, pointing to the scattered row of blocks. I expected him to count them. He was only three or four years old. “Six,” he answered promptly. “Yes . . . but how did you know that?” I asked hesitantly. He had not taken the time necessary to have counted them. “Three and three are six,” he replied. And on it went. The math came easily,...

Keep Reading

Kids Crave Your Time, Not Fancy Things

In: Kids, Motherhood
Dad and daughter with basketball smiling

I have four kids, and like most parents, I’m doing my best to give them a happy childhood, but we’re not really an activity family. Don’t get me wrong, we love a good day trip to the local water park or a night out at the movies, but with several different ages and a tight budget, activities or outings are rare for us. Sometimes I end up feeling bad about it, like our kids are missing out, but then I take a deep breath and realize that some of the best moments come from the simplest of things. Lucky for...

Keep Reading

Dear Kindergarten Graduate—Wherever Life Takes You, I’ll Always Be Your Safe Place To Land

In: Kids, Motherhood

I cried on your first day of kindergarten. Did you know that? I held it together through the getting ready and the goodbyes—but once I had waved one last time and was pulling out of the parking lot, the lump in my throat poured out as hot tears down my cheeks.  How could you be starting kindergarten? You, my precious firstborn baby. We had some growing pains as we adjusted to a new routine. The school days were so long. I spent my days missing you and you spent yours missing me. We were apart from each other more than...

Keep Reading

The Secret to Slowing Down Time Is to Notice the Moments You’re Living In

In: Kids, Motherhood

Dear current self, You’ve heard a lot of mothers admonish you to slow down and enjoy every moment with your children. They’ve warned you with phrases like “before you know it,”  “in the blink of an eye,” and other cliché’s that haven’t really hit you, but they will. Soon, they will. I am writing you now because I’ve seen you trying to wrap your mind around the how-to—as if holding time in your hand is a skill anyone has successfully mastered. I’ll save you the suspense. It can’t be done. It is inevitable. Your kids are going to grow up....

Keep Reading

You Don’t Have to Celebrate a Holiday Just Because It’s On the Calendar

In: Kids, Living

I switched on the computer, adjusted my chair, then quickly swiveled back around again toward my husband, “Are you sure? You don’t mind?” “Me?” he made a swift waving motion as if swatting a fly. “Psht. Yeah, I’m fine with it. You?” He lifted his head and locked our eyes a little more securely, “Are you sure?” “Yes,” I said firmly, without hesitation. “OK, good,” my man turned back to his phone, “Love you.” “Good,” I confirmed. A rush of relief swept through me as muscles I didn’t even know were tense suddenly relaxed. A bubbling surge of energy had...

Keep Reading

I’m Raising Wild Boys

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boy and toddler smiling at each other, color photo

Yesterday my boys (two and eight) were playing outside in our cul-de-sac—running, yelling, tackling each other . . . all the normal stuff. One of the neighbor moms was out as well, looking on as her son joined the fray.  “I need to send him over to your house for a week or two,” she joked, “so he can get more in touch with his boyness.”  “No, you don’t want to do that. My boys are wild things,” I quickly replied. And I wasn’t joking. My sons are rough, tough, primal beings.  Moments before this conversation, my oldest was ramming...

Keep Reading

A Big Move Brings Big Emotions For Little Kids—Here’s How to Help Them Cope

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood

It doesn’t matter how outgoing or funny or charismatic your kids might be, the possibility of uprooting their little lives and relocating to a new city is terrifying for any parent. Add a global pandemic into the mix, and it’s an idea that feels almost insurmountable.  But when my husband got a job offer we couldn’t refuse, we packed up the car and drove our two kids (eight and four) west from Pennsylvania to the great state of Arizona. The decision weighed heavily on me, and I wasn’t prepared for the avalanche of mom guilt that followed. But as I’ve...

Keep Reading

My Kids May Never Be Professional Athletes, But They’ll Be Strong, Confident Adults Because of Youth Sports

In: Kids, Motherhood
Tween boy playing hockey, color photo

I have pivoted 180 degrees over the last few years on one major bone of contention in our household of four, which includes two sporty kids who love ice hockey and baseball: the rationale behind our, in my opinion, excessive expenditure of resources on our sons’ youth sports careers, and whether this makes any sense.  Neither of them is NHL or MLB bound. Or at least the chances, statistically, are extremely minuscule. And yet, we have directed an inordinate amount of our life savings as well as our precious time to not only club sports, but also private lessons, to...

Keep Reading

Food Allergies Won’t Stop Her—How My Daughter Is Teaching Me to Be Brave

In: Kids, Motherhood

Dear daughter, I know sometimes you wonder if you’ll ever do normal things without me hovering over you. Double and triple-checking your snack labels and drilling you about whether your allergy meds are packed and ready. It’s a lot for you to carry, physically and emotionally. But you’re so strong, sweet girl. Flexible, too. You can do this because you were built for it. And someday, someday, you’ll see it: that this story is yours because you carry it with grace. You don’t complain much, and when you do, you follow it up with a wise comment, saying this sort...

Keep Reading