On a late-summer morning in a suburb south of Denver, Tricia Williford flits through her newly hectic routine. It’s her older son, Tucker’s, first day of kindergarten, and Tricia is making her five-year-old a sandwich while he watches a Smurfs cartoon in the family room. Tucker’s three-year-old brother, Tyler, sits at the kitchen table, drawing with some markers. They all have to leave in 20 minutes.
Tricia cleans up a juice puddle on the kitchen floor, puts away the dishes, and politely—but firmly—asks Tyler to find his Captain America shoes. “I don’t know where they are,” Tyler says without looking up. “Well, I guess you’re going to have to look,” Tricia says. “Get your brother to help you.”
Tricia is 32, with dark strawberry hair and striking features, a schoolteacher turned writer and editor. Her blog, teachingtuckandty.blogspot.com, started as a fun, easy way to update family and friends on the Willifords’ lives. By last December, she had written more than 1,100 entries, everything from game-night recaps to baby firsts to the time Tyler accidentally locked his mother and brother in a room while his dad, Robb, was out of town, and the police had to come let them out. Like so many “mommy blogs,” Tricia’s generated modest traffic, maybe a few dozen hits per month.
Tyler has finally located his shoes, and before they leave, Tricia grabs a red marker and writes on a sheet of white paper, “My First Day of Kindergarten.” She hands it to Tucker, his red hair perfectly parted, looking sweetly handsome in his khaki cargo shorts and a red-and-white striped shirt. “Outside, kiddo,” she says.
Tricia finds her camera, opens the front door, and stops her son on the porch.
“Right there,” she says. “Hold up the paper. Now smile.”
Snap. “Ooooh, that looks good.”
Tricia posts the photo a few days later on the blog, with the caption, “Bring it.” She can’t help but notice how much Tucker looks like his dad.
Robb Williford was born in central Ohio, a pastor’s son. He attended the Ohio State University, where he played trombone in the school’s acclaimed marching band. When he returned home on a break, he met Tricia. She was the daughter of his father’s assistant, but she was still in high school.