The Good Life in Austin Texas


First Day of School

Big Yellow School BusSitting on the low stone wall, our eyes meet and he flashes us a nervous grin and anxiously looks around at the other kids and parents sitting and loitering nearby. The year is 1995 and we are waiting at the bus stop for the big yellow school bus that will take our son to his very first day of school at Forest Trail Elementary. There are several other "first timers" and their parents along with a half dozen students ranging in age from 7 to 11. In a moment, we hear the roar of the bus as it heads around the corner and comes to a stop in front of us. The doors noisily slide open and the kids begin to file on one at a time. My wife squeezes my hand as we watch him climb on board as he turns and waves goodbye. Her tears begin as the bus pulls away and I gently tease her and say, "It's okay, you want to follow the bus to school?" We both laugh and then immediately run to our car and pull in behind the bus with several other like-minded parents forming a wagon train, following the bus to school! On our drive I keep telling her he will be fine and not to worry and she laughs while crying and reminds me that our "baby boy" is growing up! I'm still laughing and agree and all is well until we pull up in the school lot, park and watch him bound off the last step, smiling and so excited to be at school. Then it happens to me...big salty tears pour from my eyes as my wife and I hug and watch the scene. Yes, as intense as my business persona can be at times...I do have a soft spot for my family and the well being of others.

This week that scene will be repeated to various degrees in the Eanes School District where we call home and all over the country! Actually we moved to the Eanes School District when our son was only 3 and our daughter was about a month away from arriving in the world! At my previous real estate firm located in Westlake, I volunteered at several of the schools and was impressed with just about EVERYTHING I saw. Every school had great teachers, staff, administrators, a wonderful curriculum, healthy, active parent involvement and dedication to excellence on every level. After talking it over with my wife, we began looking for a home in the area and moved in 1992. This year the Texas Education Agency has rated every school in Eanes, EXEMPLARY and all of the schools consistently perform at the highest levels! Here is an interesting detail: Only 60% of the residents in Eanes have students in school however the rest stay because the quality of the schools contributes to keeping the property values up! As a matter of fact, our daughter is a senior at Westlake this year (something she is exceedingly proud of) and when she leaves for college next year, we also intend to stay in the district. Not JUST because of the schools but they are a major factor.

For more information on all of our excellent schools, please click on the links provided that will take you to the District Site as well as each of the individual schools where you will have access to an incredible amount of data and resources! And if you have a chance, volunteer, they can always use the help!

Eanes School District Web Site

Barton Creek Elementary                   Bridgepoint Elementary                      Cedar Creek Elementary

                                        Eanes Elementary                     Forest Trail Elementary

               Hill Country Middle School                                              West Ridge Middle School

                                                                Westlake High School fast forward to last week. Our son asked me to accompany him as he drove back to college to begin his sophomore year. We all had a good summer together but as some of you may know about teenagers, it was T I M E for him to return to school. On the way up he mentioned that he had not really had a chance to mentally prepare for his next year and leaving home again. This came as something of a surprise to me because he has always loved travel, adventure and has an ardent streak of independence. He just said he was still something of a "homeboy" and talked about how much he loved us and being home...Anyway, after a 7 hour drive we arrived at school, unloaded and got him moved in to his fraternity house (That's another story all together!) and then it was time for us to head for the airport. As in the past everything was FINE until I took one last picture of him at the drop off area and he hugged me. When I started to relax my grip, he hugged me just a little harder and then it started...big, warm, salty tears which I tried to blink away but to no avail. I tried to mumble something and he smiled and said, "It's alright Dad, I am just on the edge myself." And so it goes, anyone who has even a modicum of love for their children must experience something like this to some extent and his Mom and I are just grateful that he and his sister have been gifts to us AND that they have the opportunity to receive a good education!

School is back so watch out for those children!!!


Russell M. LewisPage copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape 

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53 commentsRussell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI • September 03 2009 06:31PM


Your BAAAAAAACCCKKK! Ha Ha, I love being a senior and I'm glad you are blogging again!


Posted by Mattie Lewis (AvenueOne Properties) about 1 year ago

Russell, You brought back memories of us leaving our son at kindergarten back in 1991.  I had those salty tears all the way home.  We had them in a private school back then as the schools in our area of Colorado were not great.  Fast forward and two tours of Iraq later he is out of the Army and starting his freshman year of college.  Well kind of he took 12 hours this summer. 

Posted by Marchel Peterson Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro (Results Realty) about 1 year ago

Well...Well, you have gotten a bit soft but that's alright! You have been a great advocate of the schools in your area for many years and this was a clever and fun way to high light the districts excellent schools! Nice to see you back again!

Posted by Scott Harvey (AvenueOne Properties) about 1 year ago

You big softy!  I remember it well.  I used to cry every year at my older son's birthdays.  I just loved every stage of him.  And now, he's off on Wednesday to his sophomore year of college!  When the bus took my second son for kindergarten, I was felt like some mistake was made.  That was my baby on that bus!  As much as my boys drive me crazy, I love them like crazy and miss the cuddles and the unstinting love.  My younger one turned 13 this year and while I can see, in his eyes, that I am still the number one person in his heart, he is not very cuddly anymore.  If I reach for him in public, he moves away!  Yesterday, my 20 year old and I drove up to college just to drop a few things off.  We made the bed, moved some furniture, and I couldn't help getting misty eyed.  How I love this boy.  Both of my boys.  I want them to grow up and be happy and yet... and yet... how I'll miss them.  xxoo  You big softy!  I love you for that Russell.


Posted by Susan Mangigian, West Chester PA Realtor RE/MAX Preferred, ABR (RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A) about 1 year ago

Enjoyed your post. Great to watch the kids grow up.

Now heres a test. Can you remember your first day of school


Posted by John Smith about 1 year ago

Ok... so you just had to do it... post this blog and make me cry AGAIN.  Your story sounds so similar to what I just went through with Tyler.  I thought A LOT about his first day of school 18 years ago.  I even took a picture of his first day of his senior year in high school...ha,ha,ha.  He didn't even say a word... he just gave me his big cheesy grin and left saying "I love you Mom."  The last couple of weeks he came home for dinner just about every night.  He was in tears, as he too claims himself as some what of a home body.  He told me he wasn't like a lot of his friends that were saying "I can't wait to get outta here.  I can't wait to leave home."  He was excited about starting a new chapter in his life.  But it was difficult for him as he said "I love my family.  I love being around them. I'm not excited about leaving home but I am excited about college."  Friday came and I did good until he put his arms around me and said "I love you Mom."  I couldn't hold back the tears.  I didn't completely break down until I got home later that night when I thought for a moment "Hmmm... I wonder what time Tyler is going to be home tonight?" and realized he wasn't coming home.  I sobbed!!!  I am almost 40 and I cried myself to sleep that night.  But I, too, am truly grateful that I have a son who loves his mamma, who loves being around his family, who is not only excited about going to college but excited about doing something with his life.  He has goals, he has dreams... he's living them and he's sharing them with ME.  We are truly blessed!!!

Posted by Tiesa Hollaway about 1 year ago

My daughter starts her sophomore year of college this week. I can't say that I ever followed her bus to school, but then she didn't start riding the bus until 5th grade. But it's funny, as the years go by, how she begged me to ride the school bus, then was embarassed to ride the school bus. Then when she entered high school, which was only a mile from home, she begged to walk to school with her friends, then hated it and wanted to ride her bike. Then she grew embarassed of riding her bike, and wanted me to drive them again. *sigh* THEN comes the day they start driving. THAT's when the real stress begins! O_O 

I think I'll go blog my comment now. LOL

Posted by Lisa Hill (Daytona Beach Real Estate) (Florida Property Experts) about 1 year ago

Russell, we will have the squealy kids starting school around North Texas August 24th too. The summer goes by so fast.

Posted by Gary Woltal - Assoc. Broker REALTOR® SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) about 1 year ago

Ah, Russell!
Did you bring back some memories! My daughter, husband and myself standing outside her dorm, surrounded by the Eucalyptus trees on the University of San Diego campus, each knowing now was the time to get in the car and leave...and no one wanting to make the first move.  Finally, hugs all around and in the car we reluctantly climbed...then I sobbed for a good 10 minutes before getting myself under control.  That was about 10 years ago and it is as clear now as the day it happened!

Posted by Paula Swayne, Realtor-Land Park, East Sac & Curtis Park -Dunnigan, REALTORS (Dunnigan, Realtors, Sacramento (916) 425-9715) about 1 year ago

Hi Russell It is so wonderful to have you back and read your warm touching blogs about your family.  I  smiled through tears also  remembering how my husband and I would drive to the school and hide our car among the other cars to watch our daughter play at the recesses. These kids do it to us every-time. They grow up  so fast now I need to travel to Penn State( as I do every 1st day of school ) and watch my grandson get on the bus

Last fall season,  and I am sure this season will be the same, all the parents walk their kids to the bus stop camera in one hand and coffee in the other.  It is so funny, every pictures shows all parents with cameras and coffee.( Gee I misses the opportunity I could have sold donuts LOL ) so so happy to have you back......BTW About your son in daughter didn't want to go to Westminster( great shool ) close to home...her reason...she didn't want to be that close to home......She went to Duquesne in Pittsburgh and LOL.......came home every week end because she missed home.

I really liked how you hyper-linked the school information ..great idea.  I bet every parent has this picture....

Posted by June Lewis Realtor® Northwood Realty New Castle,Pa Lawrence Co 7247304571 (Northwood Realty Services) about 1 year ago

Hi Russell Me again I went back to read the other comments and remembered something that now is funny, wasn't then.

During my daughter's ( summer ) Sophomore year in High School she won a scholarship to Joffrey Ballet School in New York i

My husband and I drove to N.Y. to watch her in ballet class.  They wanted to keep her with the company, that meant she would study, travel and dance in Japan.  Long story short.  We  left the decision up to her but her mother cried all the way home to western Pa

( 8 hrs drive ))until my husband threatened to stop the car and make me walk home ( he would not  have done that ) anyway

the intelligent daughter that we had decided she would NOT give up college to join the bet I was happy

Posted by June Lewis Realtor® Northwood Realty New Castle,Pa Lawrence Co 7247304571 (Northwood Realty Services) about 1 year ago

What a wonderful 'going back in time' story all the way to present...along with great local info on the schools!

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman HAWAII Real Estate & Relocations (Century 21 Liberty Homes) about 1 year ago

Hello Russell-Welcome BACK you BIG softy. We missed you. I knew you had a BIG loving heart ever since I have known you and even more so when I saw you in that adorable teddy bear outfit. Have a wonderful week. :-)

Posted by Pat Preston (RE/MAX 1st Olympic Lynchburg Va) about 1 year ago

Aw... that is a great story, Russell - thanks for sharing!!!

Posted by Emily Lowe - Nashville TN Realtor (The Lipman Group Sotheby's International Realty) about 1 year ago

Saw on the news last evening that schools in our area start today.  Reminder to watch my speed and no talking on the cell phone.

Posted by Richard Weeks, REALTOR®, Broker Associate, GRI, ePRO, eAgent (Productivity Coach Keller Williams Dallas Premier) about 1 year ago

Russell love the story. You brought me back to when I was waving good bye to my parents heading off to school. I remember being scared $%#%LESS!

Posted by Bill Gassett Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) about 1 year ago

Good morning all, How nice to see so many comments, I am off for an early morning run and will return to reply later!  Have a great day!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

I am sure that all that have kids are remembering those days. I have a boomerang child-one that has graduated from college, lived in Dallas, has moved back to Austin and living at home. I always said that would never happen to ME! It has been wonderful and much needed for both of us. She will move out in a month and by then it will be T I M E! But I feel certain that there will be those salty tears. The fortunate thing is that she will remain in Austin but probably never to live at home again. and that makes me sad.

Posted by Liz Newell (AvenueOne Properties) about 1 year ago

Thirty minutes til I take my middle-schooler to the bus stop.....

Posted by Coleen DeGroff - Haile Plantation Real Estate - Gainesville FL - (Seide Realty) about 1 year ago


This is such a nice testimonial about the relationship you have with your son. I love the way you tied this all together, it's a great story about love and nurturing.

Featured in the Group "Whacked!!!"

Posted by Richard Weisser Coweta Fayette Real Estate about 1 year ago

Oh you Russell, You made me tear up with your sentimental blog post. What sweet memories you've shared with us here. It's nice to know our grown children while waiting to experience the new adventures in life still remember dear ol' Mom & Dad.

My daughter just turned 29 and it seems I get more blubbery as each year goes by when I have to say goodbye. We live in different parts of the country now :(  Now I must say I looked like a bad Mom on that first day of school, why? I was the only one smiling & waving as others were tearing up...she was a super rambunctious 5 year old to say the least!!! I really needed a mental break :)

Posted by Cynthia Bartch ~ Redesigned Spaces ~ all round nice gal... (Home Stager/Property Stylist & more! Granville, Ohio) about 1 year ago

Russel:  Thank you so much for sharing those very personal moments in your life.  Not having kids, I can only imagine that I would be a basketcase in this situations.  Heck, dropping a cat off to the vet for a teeth cleaning gets me upset.

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker (Long & Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) about 1 year ago

The first day and the first week are always exciting and then reality sets in.


Posted by Team Honeycutt (Allen Tate) about 1 year ago

Hi Russel, Amazing post. Thanks for sharing.

Best - Sash

Posted by Sasha Miletic - Windsor Real Estate (RE/MAX Preferred Realty Ltd.) about 1 year ago

Russel, a fantastic post (I've flagged for a well-deserved feature).  You bring the past and present together with great school information.  Tears were rolling down my face. Hard to believe it is that time again...times just flies by...

Posted by Rebecca Gaujot Lewisburg WV Realtor (Coldwell Banker Stuart & Watts Real Estate) about 1 year ago

This is such a wonderful article on the first day of school here in Texas and it is still crystal clear to me when we first sent our little girl to school. You have really brought back so many memories and now that she will be a junior in college next week it still pulls at my heart strings thinkig about her even though she is close and comes home often! Thanks Russell, you always seem to tell such  good stories that touch people in ways that make us think!

Posted by Lynne about 1 year ago


My daughter just left today (from Dallas)  to go back to Texas A&M for her final (Senior Year) of school.  At the time it did not occur to me as anything special as this has become a routine annual event over the years but,  your blog just hit me like a ton of bricks that this is the last time I will send my litle girl off to school.  I thought I would be overjoyed by the light at the end of the dark tuition tunnel but, darn you Russel Lewis for making this grown man cry at his desk in the middle of a work day.  If I were with you now I would organize a major dogpile of your body or at the minimum administer a noogie or two.   

Posted by Anonymous about 1 year ago

This was a wonderful blog Russell especially right now.  I so enjoyed our talk Friday about kids, life and about the good ole days!  I do have to say that this blog did bring tears to my eyes.  I remember when I did not have kids and parents would have this big smile on their face or perhaps tears in their eyes and I never could understand why.  Now I know.  I thought it would get better the older they get but I think it gets worse.  Thanks for helping me go down memory lane and I'm sure this has touched many people...keep them coming and welcome back.


Posted by Karen David-Mohr about 1 year ago

Its nice to see you are back in the world of AR. You sure covered a lot of ground today. The next one should be on what it feels like to take your grand-kids to school! I bet you can't wait for that day!



Posted by Betina Foreman-Serving Lake Travis, Lake Austin and the greater Austin area! ((512)771-6318 Prospect Real Estate Solutions, LLC) about 1 year ago

Just got in and see all these comments and I promise to reply!

Betina, Thanks, it's good to be back and the funny thing is that people have been mistaking me as my kids Grandfather for years! (I guess it's the silver hair!!!)

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Bookmark for Replies!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Us older parents (try raising 5 of them ankle bitters) can recall all those feelings as well and how they are intensified when they go off to college.. Yes, the wife cried and  still does some nights.. But after the tears have dried and ceased to flow, I couldnt help but think that now with the savings in the grocery bill each week, car payments, car insurance, clothing, (add your own here as well), what it cost to go to Eanes and play sports, cheerlead, band, ad nausum, Annie and I can now afford a nice little vacation..

Thinking that now we can pluck from the "Money Tree" that the kids have harvested from over and over, year after year.. Need the rain to make it grow though..

Wouldn't have traded any of it and will be most willing to do it for our grandkids as well..



Posted by Buster about 1 year ago

Russell - I was happy to see a new post from you, my friend.  I guess I have studiously avoided days like you described here, since my kids are homeschooled.  I remember my first day of college, and my mom and I both cried, although she might have been secretly happy to have me gone, since I was a handful back then.  :)

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) about 1 year ago

I'm about to experience this myself.  My oldest starts kindergarten in a couple weeks.  Although he's been in pre-school for the past three years, this feels different, like it's real school.  I'm a bit nervous although he's excited.

Posted by Christine Donovan Costa Mesa CA Homes Broker/Attorney 800-610-7253 DRE01267479 (Donovan Blatt Team - Donovan Group Realty) about 1 year ago

Russell  It doesn't surprise me you followed the school bus - your son knows he's fortunate  Karen

Posted by Karen Kruschka - Prince William, Fairfax ,Stafford County VA Real Estate Service (RE/MAX Olympic Realty) about 1 year ago

Russell..I knew you were a gentle man and loved your familia! I am sure the love they have for you is tenfold! I am now seeing the first days of school through my grandkids eyes..more blessings than I could ever imagine!! Great blog!!

Posted by Marie Valadez about 1 year ago

WOO HOOO! You a and with a fabulous post! I know you have been involved with your children and their schools over the years and this is a wonderfully compassionate story. You may be tough in business but you are such a softy when it comes to your family! Nice to have you back again! 

Posted by Allysoun Musslewhite (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) about 1 year ago

Hello Russell. it's been awhile since I have been here too. I heard about your new post at the office today and this one is really good! I like the way you told a story about your family and school involvement and also managed to give out some great links to the Eanes School District! Nice job!

Posted by Jeannette Spinelli (Avenue One Properties) about 1 year ago

Russell  How do I recommend this as a featured post ?  Karen

Posted by Karen Kruschka - Prince William, Fairfax ,Stafford County VA Real Estate Service (RE/MAX Olympic Realty) about 1 year ago

Oh I hope you treasured that moment with your son.  You sincerely brought tears to my eyes.  My son (same age) is skipping his sophomore year to return back to Nebraska and attend school there.  I am so sad to lose my little homebody also!

Posted by Renee Burrows - Las Vegas Real Estate (702-580-1783) (The Force Realty -Realtor>Estate>Probate>REO>Short Sale) about 1 year ago

Oh Russell, you've done it again! Told a heart warming story and touted your schools at the same time. Wonderful article and I hope you are not planning on being away for so long before you blog again!

Posted by Linda about 1 year ago


Oh I feel your pain! I remember when we drove behind my son's car out to Clemson and watched the wheel of his bike go round and round! We got him moved in and as we drove away the tears began! I cried well past Atlanta!!

Posted by Dorie Dillard: Canyon Creek & NW Austin Living (Coldwell Banker United) about 1 year ago

Big Salty Tears as I read your post Russell!  I was reminiscing the other day, about by daughter's first day of kindergarten - this week her daughter started kindergarten!  I also cried all the way home on the airplane when I had to leave my grown daughter in her new home in a different state!  I loved this story - those big salty tears are filled with love.

Posted by Mary Douglas, REALTOR ®, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado (United Country Ponderosa Realty) about 1 year ago you've gone and done it ....  my mascara got a little blurry ...

Wonderful story of the true love between kids and parents - I know I'll be there one day, and I'll be a mess myself. Heck it's tough enough for me dropping my four yr old at pre school as he looks back at me with those sad puppy eyes and says "Daddy dont go yet" !!!!

Posted by Sheldon Neal ~ That British Agent ~ Bergen County NJ (Bergen County, NJ - RE/MAX Real Estate Limited) about 1 year ago

Hi Russell, it's good to see that you can express these kind of emotions for your children and despite the macho side of a being a man from Texas you seem to be comfortable with it! Nicely told story and though I read almost all of your posts I don't comment often. I felt compelled to add to this discussion! Keep up the good work my friend!

Posted by James about 1 year ago

Hello Russell,
Guess it does not matter what age our children are, the seperation is difficult for parents and child.  My one and only started kindergarten last week.  I was able to hold back the tears until I got back to my car, then the flood began!

Posted by Cynthia Tilghman, Realtor® Onslow County NC Home Specialist (Kingsbridge Realty, Inc) about 1 year ago

Russell, what a great dad, husband, friend and person you are!  Some how, even though we both graduated from HS the same year and are lovers of our Woodstock, my two kids are 27 and 29 while yours are still in college!  But it doesn't take much to remind me of the day I helped my daughter move into her dorm at UCLA.  Yes, I cried.  I felt like I was loosing her.  The funniest thing was that she came home the very next weekend!  Unlike when I went away to college, it turned out we spent and still do spend quite a bit of time together!  Hey, I just subcribed to you.  I can't believe I didn't do that a long time ago!  Peace:)

Posted by Lake Norman Real Estate ~ Diane Aurit (LKN Realty, LLC) about 1 year ago

I have got to spend some time replying to all of these wonderful comments and will do so SOON!

Thanks to EVERYONE for adding to this discussion!!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Dear Russell,

This was a very touching post, it made me tear up and I don't even have kids! Who knew you were such a mushy guy?? You are too young to be a grandad. I was just teasing you because you never know what your kids have in store for you. I think you will always be young at heart and all that running will keep you in great shape to chase those kids around!



Posted by Betina Foreman-Serving Lake Travis, Lake Austin and the greater Austin area! ((512)771-6318 Prospect Real Estate Solutions, LLC) about 1 year ago

Russell, I already commented on this earlier but as schools have opened over the last week, the office has been full of similar stories. Such a great story and thanks for sharing!

Posted by Allysoun Musslewhite (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) about 1 year ago

Dude, this is really cool and I bet your kids think you are pretty cool "some of the time" you are a good man Russell!

Posted by Allen about 1 year ago

Russell, I have not read your blog lately and wanted to let you know that this is a wonderful article about schools our children and all of the emotions wrapped up in both. Nice touch to include Eanes School District information too!

Posted by Jeannette Spinelli (Avenue One Properties) about 1 year ago

Russell, I saw this on Facebook and dropped by to see that you posted this last year! It still applies though, nicely written!

Posted by Jan 3 months ago


What does the graphic say?