Yes, the beginning of every school year is a mixed bag of emotions. There’s sadness that summer is officially over, relief that some other adults can help corral our wild beasts, and panic at the thought of facing homework and packing lunches for the next nine months. It’s like repeating a pregnancy each and every year.
Immediately after drop-off on the first day of school, my local coffee shop was full of bright-eyed, smiling parents, all sipping their celebratory lattes with a twinkle in their eyes. None of us needed the caffeine; we’d been up since 5:30, drinking coffee and singing as we made hearty breakfasts and put backpacks by the front door. Ready or not, here you go! Going to a coffee shop at 8:30 a.m. isn’t frowned upon like going to a bar would be. But make no mistake–we were celebrating!
Since each of my boys has a different personality and different quirks, the first day of school brought all sorts of behaviors. One was super excited and couldn’t wait to share his summertime adventures with anyone who would listen: teachers, classmates, janitors, the bathroom stalls. He practically bounced around all morning rehearsing what he would say. Another has ADHD and despises sitting still in school. He was in tears just thinking about having to follow directions, wear a uniform, and stay out of the woods at recess (“Why can’t they just let me climb that fence and catch snapping turtles? What’s the big deal?”). The two high-schoolers played it cool, hopefully looking forward to the new year. But who knows since they tell me nothing. Ever.
Like a nesting pregnant woman (which I am NOT, by the way), I spent the first two days shopping for things for the house and making ridiculous amounts of food. None of it had to do with school or any immediate feeding requirements. For whatever reason, my husband decided that everyone needed new mattresses and proceeded to dismantle beds while we were getting ready for the first day. Great timing, as usual. Naturally, then, I thought we needed fresh comforters because the old ones are scratchy and everyone fights over the two that are soft. Outside, we have a fig tree overloaded with deliciously plump, ripe figs that will be eaten by yellow jackets and ants if they aren’t picked. So, instead of simply picking the figs, I proceeded to make five pounds of fig preserves. Just because.
When the boys came home on the first day of school, I could immediately detect what kind of year we will have. One forgot his spelling notebook, one forgot his assignment pad, and one couldn’t tell me who was in his classes. On the second day of school, I couldn’t find one of the boys because he decided he’d follow his friends to after-care instead of meeting me for pick-up. Then the youngest almost got hit by a car crossing the street without me. The oldest drives himself, has a girlfriend, and plays soccer, so I worry about all the things that can go terribly wrong in each of those circumstances. Lord, help me, it’s going to be an interesting year.