The first day of school is upon us.
I remember sending my kids off on the bus the first day, and waiting anxiously for them to return. Invariably, the answer to my question, “How was your first day of school” was always a one word answer. “Okay.”
I always wondered how something so important could be reduced to that one vague answer. But then, I thought back to my own youth and my own single word remark to my own mom, “Okay.”
Why did I say that? And then, it all came back to me. How can anyone explain that first day of school? For me, it was the end of summer fun. On an early September morning I would be expelled from my bed at an ungodly hour, to sit in front of a “good” breakfast, and stuffed unwilling into normal clothes.
No more rolling out of bed whenever, no more marshmallows and tootsie rolls in front of the TV in the morning, and no more bathing suits and bare feet.
The bus door swung open and mass mayhem greeted my ears and the whole vehicle was filled with a swarming mass of kids I’d never seen before. We entered the school doors like we were walking the Green Mile. The whole place smelled like bologna sandwiches and new sneakers.
After that first reality check, things got better, though. There were enthusiastic teachers excited about teaching interesting new things, and we would almost forget about leaving summer behind.
New notebooks, sharp pencils, world maps and the promise of fun science experiments made my entire attitude shift. Like magic, I was back in the saddle again; ready, willing and able.
Of course, that first lunch period was agonizing for a few moments, when I didn’t know who to sit with. I’d search the teaming throng for another kid looking lost, and a lunch buddy would be born.
Most of the day was spent lining up partners for dodge ball, or friends in homeroom or kids to sit with on the bus ride home.
As the day progressed, teachers gave course outlines, lists of necessary school supplies, important papers for parents to sign… so much to remember after a summer of not worrying about anything at all.
Sometime after lunch, the back-to-school shoes that I just had to have because they were red, would start pinching my toes, and then the new sweater would become ferociously warm and itchy.
My school bag weighed a ton as I finally dragged it up the bus steps. I’d get off the bus, after the best part of the day was gone, sweaty, crabby and dying of thirst.
How was my first day of school? After peeling off my prison of a sweater and grabbing a snack, it was okay. It really was.