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So today is the first day of school for the kids— again. Where did the summer go? We had so many plans: picnics, vacations, honey-do list items… So little of it happened. Twelve weeks came and went as quickly as a visit home (which by the way, we also didn’t manage to squeeze in this summer).

This morning, I was up at 4:30, probably because I was dreading the alarm ringing at 6:00. When I woke the kids (who still can’t manage to get up on their own), they both asked for more time. I’m their own personal snooze button. They finally got moving, and I took the obligatory first day photos before we piled in the car and headed off for school. I can’t believe my son is starting high school and my daughter is in her last year of junior high. I remember when I took them to their first day of preschool. They marched in their respective classrooms without so much as a backward glance at me. I sat in the parking lot and cried my eyes out. They might have needed me. I had to be right there, not a phone call and a drive away. Finally the administrator came out to my car and gently but firmly suggested I leave. It was one of the hardest things I ever did. Still today my kids go to school without looking back. Probably because they’re half asleep, but also because they’re ready to start the next phase of their lives. And I know I need to get on with mine.

Writing is very much like that. There is some truth to what people say about written works being like authors’ babies. We grow very attached to our stories and have a hard time letting them go. But there comes a time when we need to realize they are ready to send out into the world, and we need to move on to other ventures.

On the first day every year I send my kids off and have that momentary twinge of panic then I grieve because I miss them like crazy, but I know they’re where they need to be. I also know I’m where I need to be— writing my next story.