This week, my older daughter begins high school and my younger daughter is beginning middle school.
It is a new beginning for our entire family, a transition for all of us into unchartered territory. Luckily, my older daughter is well-versed on middle school and has been an important source of information for my younger daughter as she takes this very big step.
“New beginnings are so hard to find. New beginnings are mountains to climb,” sings Jessi Colter in her song "The Phoenix Rises." It’s one of my favorite songs because it represents both the celebration and the struggle that we face as we embark on a new path.
“Mom, you know I’ve never had a new room, a room that was made just for me,” my younger daughter reminded me again the other day as she was leaving for a week of overnight camp. And, once again, I knew she was right.
She was literally sleeping in the nursery that we had created for her older sister 15 years prior minus the crib and with the addition of twin beds. She has been asking me to give her a “big girl room” for months now. I looked around at the neon color scheme and the memorabilia which crammed every available space, and realized it was time.
So, this past week while she was at camp, the family launched a new beginning of sorts for her - a room makeover worthy of HGTV, if I do say so myself. I packed up her belongings, my husband moved furniture, and my older daughter helped her father paint and helped me come up with a new vision for the room.
Our goal was to create a calm, soothing, “big girl” environment where she would feel confident taking on the new academic and social challenges of middle school free of clutter and distractions. It was truly a team effort — while they painted, I shopped and sent them texts with photos of curtains, chairs and throw pillows.
I painted her desk and a lamp, and mixed and matched lamp shades to come up with the best combinations. We purchased a brand new dresser, the first piece of furniture to belong uniquely to her.
The big reveal happened when she returned from camp Saturday. The smile on her face said it all. She couldn’t believe her eyes.
So, while we will all have mountains to climb as we enter this new school year that's full of new beginnings that are out of our control, we celebrate the new beginnings that we can control ...
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.