08/31/2015 03:13 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Back to School


There comes a day in every parent's life when their babies are no longer babies. When they specifically ask that you don't walk them into their classrooms on the first day of school.

That day was today. And that day stinks.

I should have seen the signs. It started slowly with comments like "You're not really gonna wear that outfit, are you?" and "I don't want to just hang out with you on the weekends; I want to be with my friends!" to my all-time-favorite "Yeah, mom, the Spanx just aren't working with that dress," when I realized my kids don't think I'm cool anymore (and may even be a wee bit smarter than me). That the sheer thought of me walking into a fourth grade classroom with them is so unbearably uncool that I was told to stay out of sight. And now I'm the one left crying alone in the hallway! Is there no justice in this world?

So I took my uncool self and walked out of school with my head held high just like I told them to do when they were still babies and were starting kindergarten. The lump in my throat only turned into full-fledged tears when I was out of sight from anyone who could recognize me and then report their "uncool findings" to my daughters.

My path took me from their new elementary school to the same high school I attended almost 30, 20, 15 years ago. Not much had changed since I was there. Same entrance. Same baseball fields. Same smell of wet pinestraw. It's always the smells that get you, isn't it? The smell of fresh school supplies. The smell of an elementary school hallway. But something about that smell of wet pinestraw threw me over the edge. I stood there staring at the baseball field, smelling the wet pinestraw and crying. Because even though everything looked exactly the same, everything was different. Everything is different.

I'm proud of my girls for they way they've handled all of the changes they have endured over the past year. New schools, new situations, new friends, new homes, new dynamics. They are strong, they are well-adjusted, and they continue to inspire me every day.

So while it may be back to school for them, they've already taught me so much even on day one.


Last night I told the girls they could have anything they wanted for dinner for back-to-school. Talia picked an old favorite, corkscrew pasta with basil and red wine sauce. And Ryan chose Cotton Candy. And that's exactly what we had.

This was all that was left!


bag of corkscrew pasta
2-3 garlic cloves (diced)
box of grape tomatoes
2-3 splashes olive oil
small chunk of butter
appx 1/2 can chicken broth
3-4 splashes wine (I usually use white but I drank it all so I had to resort to the red but it was still great)
handful of fresh basil (chopped)
Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to directions (al dente).
Drain, leaving a cup of starchy water for later.
Meanwhile, saute garlic in some olive oil on medium-low (so it won't burn).
Then turn up the heat to medium, add the tomatoes, broth and wine (let wine burn off a bit) and then turn down again to simmer for appx. 10 minutes.
Add basil at the end of cooking.
Sauce is done when tomatoes burst and it thickens up a bit.
Add sauce and a bit of the starchy water to the pasta in a large pot and toss before serving.
Top with cheese!

Cotton Candy:

Unwrap and Enjoy!