Lifestyle & Human Interest

Family's Annual Back-to-School Photos Show Just How Excited Mom Is for the End of Summer


Leslie Brooks, a 44-year-old Ohio mother of three, does not take herself too seriously.

Humor is an important part of the Brooks family culture, an attribute her children have learned to relish.

At the end of every summer, dating back to 2013, the Brooks children have a tradition of posing for a back-to-school photo that involves their mom joyfully celebrating her newfound freedom.

Wearing sullen and annoyed expressions, Leah, 14, Caroline, 13 and Drew, 9, pose with arms firmly crossed and eyes downcast while Brooks poses happily poolside, sipping coffee, jumping for joy and even getting a deep tissue massage.

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The photos are all in good fun; the laughter and creativity of coming up with the annual photo helps alleviate any nervousness the kids might be harboring about the first day of school.

“The end of August is always a busy time,” Brooks told Good Morning America. “We thought it would be funny as a little break, a way to ease some of the first day of school nerves.”

The kids enjoyed the inaugural 2013 photo shoot so much, they decided to repeat it year after year, with the kids often taking the lead in how the photo should be staged.

“The kids say to me all the time, ‘this is our awesome tradition,'” Brooks said.

“We have so much fun with it, they really have come to look forward to the pictures every year. They even started coming up with costume and prop ideas,” Brooks said.

This year, Brooks is pictured wearing a neon-colored tutu with a matching headband and a party noisemaker in her mouth. The children tried to cling to the front porch and one another as Brooks tried to pull them away.

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While Brooks looks exuberant in each annual photo, she says she truly experiences a good deal of sorrow when summer break comes to a close.

“I adore my children,” Brooks said. “Summers are awesome and I really don’t look forward to them going back to school. I miss them incredibly.”

But a good sense of humor has kept the Brooks household happy, flourishing, and bonded to one another.

“My children all have great senses of humor. And that’s really what I wanted when we kept this tradition going. To know that it’s ok to not always take ourselves so seriously,” Brooks told WSYX-TV.

She echoed the heartache that she feels as a mother knowing her kids are another year older and another year closer to growing up and starting their adult lives.

“Even though these pictures are just in good fun, I actually really dread back to school,” Brooks told WSYX-TV. “That saying ‘the days are long, but the years are short’ is very true and I just want to soak up as much time with them as I can.”

“I hope one day they’ll look back and get a good laugh at these pictures,” she said.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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