Phew! I’m glad that’s over.
The first day of school, I mean. Yep, we’re Nisky, so the kids started school yesterday. M’s starting 8th grade and J’s starting 5th grade, which means that this is my last year as an elementary-school parent. Unbelievable.
Actually, I’m starting to feel like an “old” parent. The other day I was in a not-too-pleasant campsite restroom, where I overheard a preschooler talking to her mom.
“This place is a mess!” she said.
“Yes, a lot of people have been here, and they’re probably due for a cleaning,” she answered.
“Yuck! Why is it all wet?”
“People take showers here, too.”
“I don’t want to pee-pee here. It’s too yucky.”
“Well, if you don’t pee-pee here, you’ll probably wet your underwear, and we don’t have another pair to change into.”
And I sat there smiling in my stall, because it sounded like the sort of boring, patient conversation that I used to have all the time. My conversations still require a great deal of patience, but at least they’ve gotten more interesting and challenging.
Just walking around, these days, I see people walking around with babies and toddlers and I think, “Wait, is that a grown-up? Isn’t that person too young? I’m starting to sound like one of those crotchety old ladies in hospital dramas insisting that the attractive young doctors must still be in high school.
But I digress.
We all survived the first day.
On First Day Eve, J was characteristically in full-on panic mode about her summertime homework. She was supposed to choose a book that she’d read over the summer and do some sort of creative project about it and plan to present it to the class. She chose A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park, and then she decided to do a “photo album” of drawing depicting scenes from the book. She spent a very long time drawing very detailed pencil drawings. Over hours. And days. On that last day she was fretting over it so much that I thought I’d be writing a whole post about that (working title: “A Long Walk to Perfection”), but instead I never got around to sitting down and typing anything because I was too busy doing other things like running to Target for last-minute supplies and making an extra-yummy dinner so that there would be extra-yummy leftovers for everyone’s lunch. First day itself went well: J came rushing home, said that everything went fine, thanks, and could she please go out to play with the neighborhood kids? I love it when she goes out and plays with the neighborhood kids: it makes me feel like June Cleaver in the best way. So I agreed. Now with a second day under her belt, J’s liking her teacher and enjoying the fact that he’s easing into homework very slowly (love that).
M, meanwhile, was looking forward to her first day, and she even headed out early to go to Starbucks with all of her best girlfriends and then walk to school together. A marvelous life, and what could go wrong? Well, I’ll tell you: the whole place could be overheated and smelly because it’s Still. Summer. and the place is teeming with 13-year-olds. She could get a bottom locker for the first time. She could find out at the last minute that her homeroom and first period has changed, so instead of starting each day with her best friend, she’s starting the day with none of her close friends. She could be intimidated by the math teacher in the accelerated class that she’d thought (possibly hoped) she’d be bumped from based on last year’s performance, and then she could end the day in our school’s version of study hall that is just as crazy and disorganized as she’d feared when she learned which teacher she’d have. If that wasn’t exhausting enough, school was followed by soccer practice in some serious heat. She was super-tired and not psyched about life, but today she seems to have bounced back a bit.
Meanwhile, I’m super-excited to get back into a routine and actually accomplish multiple tasks on my To Do list. I’m excited to have another day to catch up before we all pretend like it’s summer again for the 4-day weekend, and even though we started way too early, I’m relieved that I’m done with First-Day-of-School-Stress until next year.