The month of August is a crazy busy time in my house, as the summer winds down and the back-to-school season inches closer. Between managing the details of changing schedules, organizing carpools, shopping for the kids, and shuttling them to and from doctor appointments, most of the chaos falls to me. And let me tell you, it’s hella stressful!
So, when I saw some hilarious images of a mom literally jumping for joy on her kids’ first day of school over on Love What Matters, I burst out laughing — because I can SO relate.
If that mom looks familiar to you, it’s because she probably is — her name is Keshia Gardner, and she went viral last year too for another giddy (and super hilarious) back-to-school photo she shared.
Her latest photos show Keshia leaping in the air once again with an ear-to-ear grin. Her husband, meanwhile, is pictured sitting in a trough of water with confetti and balloons while holding a mug that reads “World’s Okayest Dad.” (LOL.)
As Keshia shared with Love What Matters, she and her husband have been around the block more than a few times when it comes to the back-to-school season. The Gardners are a blended family, consisting of several biological, step, and foster children. In fact, for the last 10 years, the family has fostered over 40 children, and remain close with many of them to this day.
“We still stay in touch with most of our foster children that have aged out of the system and it warms our hearts when we get phone calls and visits on special occasions,” Keshia told Love What Matters. “There are good times and bad, but the happy moments always outweigh the sad.”
It’s that same spirit of love and warmth that shines through in her photos.
“We take great pride when people can’t figure out which child ‘isn’t’ ours,” Keshia shared. “Why? Because ALL of them are ours! Here are a few of the memorable photos we have done together over the years. Anytime I can make someone laugh and share about our passion for foster care, it’s a win, win!'”
With a funny mom and a willing family, it seemed inevitable that a hilarious photo shoot would inevitably take place. And for the last few years, it’s become something of a family tradition.
“This is just something that my family enjoys doing every year,” Keshia tells Babble. “I wanted to let my friends (that were upset over their babies starting kindergarten) know that it gets easier. I wanted to make them laugh, even for just a minute, to forget about their sadness. It seemed to be a hit, so we have done the same picture, every year since.”
Unsurprisingly, the latest photos have been a huge hit online with parents everywhere. Keshia thinks that might be because they’re both “honest and relatable,” and I’d have to agree.
“Parents might not say it out loud, but on the inside, most of us are jumping for joy to be back in a routine,” she says. (Ain’t that the truth!) “I still have to go to work while my kids sleep in, binge-watch Disney, eat all of the snacks in the house, and call me a thousand times because they are bored, tattling on each other or I need to pick up more snacks.” (I FEEL YOU, Keshia!)
As for what her kids think about taking the photos, Keshia shares that they’re all about it.
“My kids love doing the pictures,” Keshia tells Babble. “I wasn’t even going to do one last year because I was sick. The kids wouldn’t have it. They refused to get in the car until we did the picture.”
So despite feeling “sick as a dog,” Keshia rallied and had her husband snap the photo as she jumped in the air — and the rest is viral history.
“The kids try to appear mad in all of the pictures,” she continues, “but end up laughing at me, by the end. Every year, I seem to get lower and lower to the ground. I was super excited about this year’s picture because Brandon, my step-son graduated last year, so he was available to take the picture for me and it took some coercing but we finally convinced my husband to join us in the back to school picture. I think he was a hit!”
What an inspiring family and an amazing mom — can’t wait to see what she has in store for next year’s photo!