Bittersweet School Stuff

In spite of the Facebook love-hate relationship, I sincerely love seeing friends’ first day of school and prom photos. This year, though, the Facebook Memories function felt particularly bittersweet. With the first kid gone from the house entirely and the second kid speeding through a high school career that still hasn’t managed to become normal, all those cute photos of simpler, sweeter, bygone first days of school were. . . a lot. Occasionally quite melancholy! Of course, there were bright spots, like this classic favorite of mine in which M was wearing a sweatshirt from the college I never would have guessed she’d be attending years later! We didn’t even buy the sweatshirt–it was a hand-me-down from our friend/neighbor/fellow alum.

And of course everything always seems simpler and sweeter in retrospect, a reminder I needed when Facebook churned up this old photo I shared back when the kids were in elementary school:

Lordy, I do NOT miss that! Over the years the girls have managed to become much more stoic and philosophical in the face of tough academic challenges.

That’s not to say that we’re entirely without stress. While we are completely hands-off when it comes to M’s academics, we took the opportunity during her fall break from classes (no, she didn’t come home since she’s playing with the soccer team) to pester her about other “adulting” tasks. Meanwhile, at home, J hosted her volleyball team last Sunday afternoon to prepare for their senior night. I heard about this a day or two ahead of time from J, who assured me that I wouldn’t have to do “anything.” Instead, of course I insisted on providing snacks and drinks, and then the group moved inside when it got cold and rainy, which means that I am still finding glitter around the house. And then it turns out that the host is also in charge of preparing the tie-dyed shirts, which I only learned about the next afternoon, making the turn-around time pretty quick. In retrospect, it’s pretty amazing that I’ve gotten away with never doing this for a group of kids before. In fact, the last time I tie-dyed anything, it was a maternity shirt I made myself at a moms’ group function when I was pregnant with J. (Needless to say, I rocked the tie-dye maternity wear:)

I ended up running pretty late with dinner on that Monday night, since I didn’t even get started until after I’d rinsed out each t-shirt as thoroughly as possible before running it through the wash.

And then J had spray painting duties. When? Oh, after she’d gone in to school early, had a full school day, attended a club meeting, had a 2-hour volleyball practice, and eaten dinner, because she had to provide everyone with t-shirts the next morning at school. By the time she was home, it was too cold outside, so we set up a spray painting studio in our dining room — note the window fan ventilation system.

And then, I kid you not, it was 9:30 pm and J was asking for an X-acto knife because the stencils she’d been expecting had not been delivered and you certainly cannot have Senior Night t-shirts without listing the seniors. It really seemed like she had to be way too exhausted to handle sharp objects, so I made an emergency Walmart run for stencils. I don’t go there often, but jeepers, they had an excellent stencil selection and lucky for us, there are only two seniors, so punching out the letters and numbers, taping them together into a master stencil, and spray painting all of the t-shirts was not nearly as time-consuming as I’d expected it to be. Which is not to say that the entire project was stress-free. Still, no one cried. So, yay us!


  1. Claire

    Your younger one looks just like you. (I’m hoping this comment goes through. I tried to comment twice a couple of posts ago, and neither one went through.)

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