It's official.

As of Friday, Dec. 18, we are card carrying members of the Tiger pride.

Now that my daughter and I have made the move from the Cowboy Capital to Glen Rose, I can finally admit the commute was killing me. And time away from my home and daughter felt like an agonizing death.

I can also say I am glad that the new morning trek will consist on a less than one-mile drive from my residence to Glen Rose Elementary followed by a hop, skip and jump to the office. (Insert tears of joy and sigh of relief.) 

Amara, as I know you have heard me previously brag, is one smart cookie. By smart I mean, one who might try to dupe the Tooth Fairy in an effort to make a little extra spending money - okay, that was a couple years ago. 

But her latest show of intelligence came as she prepared to say goodbye to her birthplace and Stephenville ISD. She overheard my mother and I talking about the fact that Stephenville's last day of school prior to winter break was Thursday and Glen Rose students would go an extra day. At mention of it, a lightbulb went off so bright I saw the light shining through her big brown eyes. She had a plan.

My eight-year-old decided she would finish out the semester in Stephenville, say goodbye to friends she had known all her life and celebrate the season and then enjoy a half-day in Glen Rose before the break. 

I thought it might be awkward, being "the new girl" in the middle of a Christmas party. What would she need to bring? Cookies? Presents? Of course, I am - at times - socially awkward whereas my child will likely grow up to be an ambassador.

"It will be okay mom," she said. "I want to go. It will be fine."

So, we stayed the night in Glen Rose and prepared for the big day - and her first time of being "the new girl." 

But first, Amara tagged along for the school board meeting Thursday night. And that is where the reception began. Principal Debbie Morris greeted Amara with a big hug, telling her she was so happy to finally have her in Glen Rose. Then, during his monthly attendance report, Superintendent Wayne Rotan gave district enrollment totals and said, "As of tomorrow, we will have one more." He proceeded to introduce Amara to the board, other personnel and community members. Needless to say, she felt like someone special.

But then on Friday morning, as we approached the school, butterflies began fluttering inside my girl. That is until she realized the whole campus was waiting for her. Principal Morris again greeted her with a hug, others said they had been waiting for her all week. On the descent down the second grade hall, little voices could be heard, "Look, it's the new girl from Mrs. Horns' class."

We entered the room where her new classmates were equally excited that she had finally arrived. 'Amara, we have been waiting for you,' one blonde-haired beauty said. Another pointed to her seat. 

As I was leaving the school, I bumped into Mr. Rotan, who said he was on his way to see Amara. After school, she said, 'Mom, can you believe the superintendent came all the way upstairs to see me?'

Yes, I can believe.

She was finally here. Everyone knew her, they had all been waiting. The day was full of surprises. Amara was included in ever game and treat.

For the first time since taking this job, I was able to attend a school function - even the new girls' mom came. 

And I have to admit I was also surprised. Not by the reception - I knew the moment I rolled into Glen Rose is something special. I was surprised that I ever had apprehensions about uprooting our lives.

It's a done deal and on the frosty Friday morning, a new chapter began. Life is finally making sense. Once again I can be a working mom who is not sacrificing time with her child to get the job done. We are home, and life is good.

Happy New Year.