The White Stripes have a song that speaks to my August feelings. “We Are Going to be Friends” was recorded in 2001, and if you haven’t heard it, you should play it for your kiddos on the first day, maybe even on the ride, to school.

Going back to school after a summer of long days and outdoors and family time is a challenge, especially that first week or two, when schedules and sanity are pushed to the brink. But for our children, there is added stress. Will they fit in? Will they make new friends? What will happen this school year that will define the future?

My oldest begins middle school this month. Middle. School. 

And on top of that, she will attend a school with new people. We moved over the summer so she will go to a school where she only knows a few. We’re lucky. At least two administrators and one teacher are close friends of the family, so she has some adults keeping an eye out. But the rest of it — the new friendships she builds and the new courses she charts — will all be on her own. 

I am a believer in independence. She will be armed with the tools we provide at home such as putting God first, basic rules of kindness, hard work and responsibility. But beyond that, she will have to spark up conversations, pay attention, set her boundaries and work hard. She’ll decide what activities make her happy. 

It’s hard for us moms to let go, but little by little, it is necessary. 

My youngest has one more year of preschool before he ships off to kindergarten, so this time next year, I’m sure there will be slightly more wailing and gnashing of teeth on my part. 

But again, to everything there is a season. And life does go on, no matter how we try to dig our heels in. 

There’s a bright side, though. We get to witness our children grow and become who they are meant to be. We watch them make choices we are proud of, we watch them make mistakes that punch us in the gut and we watch them make a future for themselves and the rest of the world. That process is tough for us parents, but there’s a lot of pride wrapped up in their personal growth, too. 

As WINC. Magazine attempts to reach as many people in our community as possible, we look this month on certain aspects of this time of year. Some are fun and out of the ordinary. Melissa Gates writes a cover story about a elementary teacher with a special hobby. The Majestic Mama Andrea Champlin explains a personal challenge with her school-age daughter and how her family found solutions. Reporter Brody Arnold talks faith-based, student-led, programs in schools and how young people find their own way to address conflict, pressure and prayer.

So as you pack up backpacks for another year, WINC. Magazine will be right here with you. 

How many days again until Christmas break?

“Well here we are, no one else

We walked to school all by ourselves

There’s dirt on our uniforms

From chasing all the ants and worms

We clean up and now it’s time to learn …” — The White Stripes