Tuesday, August 28, 2007
First Day of School
Today, my son and daughter went off to their first day of school. Yes,there were tears, but it wasn't quite the way I'd always envisioned it -- my daughter in a smocked dress with patent leather shoes, my son with his caramel-colored hair slicked back and a button-down shirt. Instead, my daughter wore navy crocs with one strap missing and jean shorts tight to the knees. My son had on a gray Hollister shirt and baggy shorts that my husband kept trying to hike up even as Spencer sauntered out the door. And their first day will not require cutting or pasting. They are off to high school and middle school after years of homeschooling.
I shouldn't have had that celebratory espresso because my stomach was already in knots and now it is in jumpy knots. We left the house in plenty of time, with only a small tussle over the car keys now that Grace has her temporary driver's license. But the school buses were out in full force, stopping with their blinking red lights as the minutes ticked off the clock. I stopped in front of the middle school, in the middle of the road and said goodbye to Spencer -- no kisses, no photos. Just him with a bulky black backpack and the mandatory two boxes of tissues to give to his home room teacher.
I pulled up in front of the high school at 7:59. Homeroom started at 8 a.m. With a deep breath, Grace slid out of the front seat. She wasn't about to run. She pulled the strap of her messenger bag over her head and walked to the side door. She'd have no time to stop at her locker. I pulled away feeling like a failure as a school mom.
My youngest climbed into the front seat beside me and proclaimed it was time for Caribou Coffee. He was delaying school, choosing to stay home at least another year.
When we arrived home, my husband was getting ready to leave for work. "I put my name on my lunch bag," he said proudly, displaying the brown paper bag.
Like a brick in the gut, I realized, "Spencer forgot his lunch."
Of course, that was probably the first of hundreds of times my kids will forget something at home. But I hated that it happened on the first day.
My husband dropped it by the school on his way to work, and I could imagine Spencer realizing halfway through a class that he was without his lunch, or a teeny bopper office worker walking to the classroom and calling out: "This is for Spencer. He forgot to bring his lunch today." Or, the worst scenario of all, an announement over the PA system for Spencer to come to the office.
I watch the clock tick, imagining them going to American History or algebra or Honors English.
And I remind myself that the only thing that could make me a worse school mother would be forgetting to pick them up this afternoon.
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