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Contest Winner: Getting Left Back, Moving Forward



By: Janelle Joa (A Day In the Life)

Janelle Joa won a thredUP PRO Membership for submitting this inspirational and great back-to-school story!


It was the first day of school and Jacob was repeating the 1st grade. That day, he wasn’t sure about going back and was very nervous.

I had told him the news in the middle of the Summer. While we were vacationing in Virginia, I pulled him aside and sat him down on the front porch to tell him. I tried my best to explain it to him, but regardless he cried and cried. Through tears he told me how wanted to go to the 2nd grade with his friends, and how he was afraid that they would make fun of him. I tried to reassure him, which was easy then but not so much on that first day.

We started with our usual morning routine: washed our face, brushed our teeth, got dressed, walked to the train. On our way, he started crying again. He said that he didn’t want the other kids to make fun of him, that they were going to know, and how he was going to be with a bunch of babies. Again, I explained to him that it was going to be fine and that this happens sometimes. I told him that I was there for him, and would go inside to meet the teacher and explain to her how he was feeling. That was enough to get us through the doors.

Once we got inside the school, we met with the teacher. Fortunately, she was the same one he had last year. That made Jacob feel a lot better. He ran to her and gave her a hug. He was comfortable. After a while, I walked away and left him there. During the day, I kept thinking about him and wondering if he was doing well. I counted down the hours until pickup.

When I went to pick him up, he ran to me with a smile. He said that everything was fine. He was teased a little, but that he found new friends. It was like this for a couple more weeks, he would be nervous in the morning and I would be anxious throughout the day, until he finally got used to it.


Janelle Joa is the mother of three and a half (she’s pregnant with her fourth bundle of joy) energetic kids. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her bunch and fiance
. Catch up on their stories and thoughts at “A Day in the Life.” She also tweets at @jjoa82.

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