After years and years it’s still hard to believe that school starts at the beginning of August. Schools give all kinds of reasons for this, some of which sound plausible. But when I was a kid school never started before Labor Day. It just seems unnatural.
But here we are, August 2, 2022, on the first day of school. I don’t have kids in school anymore but I still note this day. Traffic patterns will change with more buses and cars headed in and out of school campuses in the morning and afternoon.
I had many of my own first days of school. And I shared many with my children. From preschool through college. There was always the preparatory shopping for school supplies and new clothes. Especially shoes. On the actual first day of school we would stand the kids up against the wall and make a mark to represent their height on that day.
I remember a day in preschool. I’m not sure it was the first day, but I would have been either three or four years old. I didn’t want to go. My first day of kindergarten in a new school also sticks out in my memory. As do the first day of second and fourth grades. Second grade because my mother dragged me down the hall kicking and screaming. I didn’t want to go. And fourth grade because somehow when I arrived I had not been assigned to a teacher.
My first day of college was like that too. I arrived to check in and move into a dorm room. What I found was that I hadn’t been assigned to a dorm room. There was a good bit of scrambling and by the end of the day I was in a room. Sharing it with two seniors who were not real happy to have me.
My two daughters racked up a number of first days of school between them. I was there for every one. Some stand out more than others, but the girls are the ones who will have memories of those days.
The first day of work can b the same. New job, new people, new place. There is a lot to figure out and get used to. A good employer has an on boarding program to ease the transition. Getting off to a good start makes life so much easier!
My youngest daughter is a teacher. Middle school health and physical education. Today is the first day of school for this academic year. She’s beginning her sixth year in the classroom, but at a new school.
For the last six business days she’s been going to staff meetings and orientation. Signing in to a new email, arranging a new classroom the way she wants it. Meeting new people and getting the lay of the land.
In some ways it’s old hat to her. She’s a seasoned teacher. In other ways it’s all brand new. And there are first day jitters.
Until she finds an affordable place to live she is staying at our house with mom and dad. Not ideal for anyone, but we are making it work.
It’s a special day for her so I got up early to be sure I could see her off. I won’t do that every day because she heads off to work before I usually get out of bed. And I know she doesn’t want me seeing her off everyday like she was a student rather than a teacher.
I asked her if she wanted me to measure her on the wall. Like the old days. I told her I was just kidding. I told her I wanted to wish her well on the first day.
As she left she gave me a big hug. I could feel a little bit of an extra squeeze that told me she was a little nervous, but so glad to have me there.
When they were kids the last thing we’d say every day before they went off to school was “and most of all, we love each other.” These days all I have to say is, “and most of all…” They fill in the rest.
That’s part of my story. What’s yours?