I'm not the parent who looks forward to the start of school. I love the slow pace of summer, the inevitable abandonment of a schedule, the seemingly endless amount of time we can spend together as a family. I let the boys ride their bikes up and down the street well into the deepening shades of dusk. Many nights were spent in the backyard with the telescope, examining moon craters and trying to catch just a glimpse of Saturn's iconic shape. Family story time was extended longer and longer, as no one had the heart to stop before the end of the chapter.
But school is back. And along with it, the necessity of a bedtime, the wearing of shoes that require socks, and evenings spent with homework instead of badminton in backyard.
Bug has approached this school year with more anxiety than usual. For weeks, he has commented that he is dreading school. During our conversations about school, he has expressed stress and doubt, emotions that break my heart to see in a 10 year old.
"I'm just so stressed that they'll ask questions I don't know the answer to. And there will be quizzes and tests that I won't do well on. And there will be so much homework." I don't know how to calm the anxiety that I see so often in myself.
By now, we have done many, many first days of school. Sending Monkey to first grade and Bug to fifth grade should be a straight forward routine by now. Right?
A simple breakfast as a family. Getting dressed. Making sure faces, teeth, and hair are clean and presentable. Checking the bags of school supplies and ensuring that backpacks and pencil boxes are labeled. The mandatory first day of school pictures.
Then off to school to stand in line and wait for the bell before marching between supply laden parents and occasionally tearful children to the classrooms.
Bug, no surprise, did everything he could to avoid a public display of affection before slipping into his classroom unaccompanied. Hubster and I, however, stayed by Monkey's side until his classroom was found, his backpack was hung on the hook under his name and he was settled at his desk.
At this point, I burst into tears. Let's blame it on pregnancy hormones, working the demanding hours of night shift. Let's blame that steady stream of tears on anything other than my continued ability to be overwhelmed by how quickly these boys are growing up, at the start of first and fifth.
Still, I can say it was a good first day of school, as the only one who crying was me.