Desk_with_English _chairs

Here at Thistlewood…..we are right in the middle of PSAT prep.

Practice tests and sharpened number two pencils and geometry and vocabulary and reading comprehension and other mind-spinning subjects.

Our oldest is getting ready to represent in the world of standardized testing.


Yesterday he was entering kindergarten.

And then I blinked.

Upstairs Rec Room

I can still remember him running in the first day of school….whirling through the room and energetically tossing his Thomas the Tank Engine backpack onto the floor…..

….and handing me a crumpled piece of paper.

I looked at the paper and he looked back at me wide-eyed.

“Look….mom….it’s the letter A.”

And so it was.

A beautiful letter A.

Every line and space of the A…..perfectly filled in with the most vibrant shade of red.

“You’re amazing,” I smiled.  “You stayed perfectly in the lines.”

Upstairs_deskHe smiled back.

“I know,” he said.  “Do you know what an A sounds like?  When it’s short it goes like this….ah…ah….A.  I told the teacher I already learned all this when I learned to read….but she told me it was good to be reminded.”

He munched on a cookie….crumbs spilling everywhere with milk dripping down his chin.

“I told her that I really like the letter A and that I finished early….so I filled out the back for her.”

“The back?” I asked curiously.  “You filled out the back?”


And with that I slowly turned over the crumpled-perfectly-colored-in-the-lines-letter-A.

And on the back it in neatly printed kindergarten scrawl read:

Favorite food:  hamburgers

Favorite color:  red

Favorite dessert:  chocolate chip cookies

Favorite show:  thomas the tank engine

Favorite song:  if you’re happy and you know it

Favorite person:  my dad

I finished reading and looked up to see him smiling at me.

“Yep,” he said.  “After I was done coloring the A….I had some extra time.

So I thought it was important…..

… tell her some “pertinent” information about me.”  🙂

Inline image 1

PS  Here’s hoping all that “pertinent” information comes in handy on the PSAT. 🙂

PPS  I’m sending this to his teacher to thank her for helping to equip him with a lifelong love of learning. 🙂

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Petra Petra

    Oh absolutely gorgeous story! And I love the old chairs and trunk! Oh, and your lovely armchair with ottoman. Very light and cheerful looking. :-D

  2. Image for nantucketdaffodil nantucketdaffodil

    Love this KariAnne! My son is off to high school this year. He sounds like he could be your son's twin! Right down to the Thomas back pack. He is now aspiring to go to Harvard, so I told him when he was chosen for the golf team yesterday that this is the beginning of his college resume! I am off for the start of my 22nd year teaching 6th grade math and science. Wish me luck!

  3. Image for andrea cammarata andrea cammarata heart is warmed this morning my friend and I know exactly all the emotions that you are going the end he will always be your little boy even when he is 501 This chapter is exciting and I have a feeling that the ride is going to be amazing for you and for him : ) hugs...

  4. Image for Anne Presley Anne Presley

    That's my D and as I watch the others all want to share the important stuff with their teacher, I thank the Lord that I am so incredibly blessed. Denton set the tone and continues to be an amazing role model for ALL of the others - instead of "Mikie" - we are have our Denton - thanks to GG, his parents and the Lord. It makes my heart happy and I smile.

    1. Image for Linda @ it all started with paint Linda @ it all started with paint

      Where's your picture, Denton? I didn't see it? And I'm not surprised that you finished that letter A early and filled out the back of the paper. Or used the word "pertinent" as a 5-year-old! I'd wish you good luck on those PSATs -- and SATs -- but I know you don't need any luck. Just your amazing smarts! :) Linda

  5. Image for Angela Angela

    Aw, such precious memories!!! I can remember we bought the CD version of test preparing and everyday when I drove my kids to school (yes they were both spoiled like that!) we would listen to that tape and the kids would answer questions! I'll never forget it and miss it now! Good luck to your son! I'm sure he'll knock it out of the park!~~Angela

  6. Image for Faith Faith

    Hello! I loved reading your story as it made me think of my own kids going off to school for the first time! This year my grandson begins his journey! Best wishes, Faith

  7. Image for Pamela from Flower Patch Farmhouse Pamela from Flower Patch Farmhouse

    Some may find it hard to believe that a Kindergartener can read and write so fluently but I don't. My oldest could do both at 4 years old. After his first week of school his teacher came to me wondering if I knew my son could read and write better than most Fourth graders. Being a very young mother I did not understand her wonder. :) Young Mr. Denton will do just fine on his tests. A lovely tale, thank you for taking me back to when mine was in school. He is 31 years old now. They are still your babies even when they are grown. ~sign~

  8. Image for SuzyMcQ SuzyMcQ

    It's all so bittersweet, isn't it? We teach them to soar, but miss them when they do.....As my youngest heads to her senior year of high school and looks to colleges far from here, I am so proud of her independent spirit but deep inside will miss her daily smiles and hugs, as I do those of her brother who matriculates 1200 miles away.

  9. Image for Gee Gee

    Sigh... time is a thief!!I too remember similar conversations with tears in my eyes. The first day of Kindergarten. I was sick!!! My tummy ( and the Mr's did bad things) Now... sigh, one got married this past May, and the other is starting his first day of his Bachelors Degree on Thursday. WHAT??!! Kindergarten was just a blink away.... Luv the room . Enjoy these golden days....

  10. Image for Cynthia Cynthia

    "D"is so much like my oldest. Who by the way started his second year of medical school yesterday. I have 5 wonderful kids, and it seems that the blink becomes a half blink the more you have! Number 3 leaves for her Sophomore year in 2 days! I hear the clock ticking, the babies still in the nest, a Senior in HS and a Sophomore in HS... Thanks for sharing your beautiful memory, it took me back to the early years for a moment, and I so enjoyed it! Denton, relax and do what comes naturally to you, you'll do VERY well!

  11. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Awww such a sweet story. They do grow up so fast, and my grandchildren are growing up faster! Our first is going into grade 5...scary. I'll bet his teacher will love to read this post. Debbie :)

  12. Image for Regina Regina

    My last kindergartener is in her first day of COLLEGE classes today . . . sigh . . . and I remember when, as a first-grader, she asked me, that little forehead wrinkled, "Is that a rhetorical question?" LOL I tried very hard to teach my children useful sarcasm early on . . . ;) It goes by way too fast! AND, I'm a huge fan of your map! :)

  13. Image for Vicki Vicki

    Remember when the older ladies at the church socials would pat our children's heads or stroke their arms looking at us parents knowingly and state, "enjoy them while they are young as the time passes all too quickly?" In the midst of trying to get a newborn to sleep, keep a toddler from running wild, and get everyone in the family heading in the same direction minute-by-minute, those words from the wise seemed ridiculous. And less than pertinent. But as we've aged and our children pass the many milestones of school, college, relationships, part-time jobs, career, and marriage those wise words resonate all too true....."enjoy them while they are young as time passes all too quickly!" For all us Mom's out there, we feel the bittersweet tug of pride and sadness with each milestone reached. Blessings, Vicki

  14. Image for Karen Karen

    Evan started College yesterday. How can this be? It feels like only yesterday that he started High School. I handed him an umbrella as he left this morning, and told him that rain was in the forecast. He came back soaking wet. I guess that umbrella came in real handy being left in the car! Thank you for sharing the sweet story about your sons first day at kindergarten.

  15. Image for Norma Jean Norma Jean

    For a brief moment, upon reading the title, I wondered if it was the "scarlet" letter A. Were you revealing a deep, dark secret? Surely not! But then it was! Just not THE SCARLET LETTER!!! Know you are proud of that first-born son and well you should be.

  16. Image for Heidi Heidi

    And there it is. Your amazing gift of spinning a yarn about your warm and wonderful family! I truly enjoyed that. Thank you, Karianne.

  17. Image for Zolane Zolane

    So fast...just a blink and they're all grown up. Our youngest started college last week and it's those kinds of memories - the crumpled papers with an A, a piece of black construction paper painted all white (it was a painting of a blizzard :)), and so many more that make those earlier days seem not so far ago.

  18. Image for Gwen Gwen

    Made me cry. I taught K and even grad students but hmm 15?16? Years at first grade. And a true genius is never 'bored'. He made me laugh and remember some kids I had like him!! ...and I'd talk to my kids all year about loving to learn deep inside....and cheating means you just cheat yourself out of life...and then we'd talk about stuff. Like growing old and GrandDad exercises my Dad had to do so we'd take a quick break and run through them and instead of weights, lift our chairs the right way...and they learned about family and love and that I loved them even if they had to go to detention on Fridays and doing animals of America reports which were hard work for we'd squeeze them in our day...yet years later they knew who had what animal....and then they'd come back and be all grown up and say, Thank you. I just want you to know I'm going to UCLA or into the Marines... And kids running across parking lots to say hi years later to say they were doing great. And I'm brain injured now. I couldn't today figure out change. Oh but I pray my kids still have a love of learning. I ran into one last year who said she'd come by my room to tell me where she'd gotten into college and I wasn't there. Remember I was her first grade teacher! And she saw me with my walker and all and said, that stinks. But maybe not. I believe I DID instill a lifelong love of learning. And the PSATs? Your son is going to score high. No doubt. He's got the love of learning down pat. So no sweat. He will succeed. :-) you can tell him I said so!

  19. Image for gina gina

    Tearful. Wonderful recounting of his kindergarten day. I can relate. My son's kindergarten teacher was sure my son saw the word "sandwich" somewhere in the room. She just never found out where. :)

  20. Image for Kally Kally

    I am a Kentucky girl too, and absolutely in love with your, well, everything! My oldest, age 4, just started preschool a few days ago, so your story hits home! Random question, but I have a Kentucky mp very similar, especially in size, to the one you have pictured. How did you frame yours? Did you just use 1 x? Any I go would be grand! Keep up the amazingly fabulous work!!

  21. Image for Christy Christy

    So precious, Karianne! My oldest just started middle school and I was fine until his schedule came in the mail and I just burst into tears! Happy tears, though... Where does the time go??

  22. Image for maryJean maryJean

    This story makes me cry. I so miss my two once 5 year olds. (now 26 and 28) It's that darn blinking we all need to stop. :,/ I guess I am feeling quite nostalgic right now anyway.

Comments are closed.