This is the time of year when I used to get butterflies in my stomach with excitement. I am not talking about the setting up of my 2nd grade classroom, hanging bulletin boards and writing lesson plans. That does bring back memories of anticipation and enthusiasm for the start of a school year with a new class full of eight year old students. But that is not the ticklish feeling I have inside right now, it’s the time in August when I begin preparing for my kids going back to school. We buy new shoes, new backpacks, get haircuts, and make the trip to the office store for the overflowing shopping cart full of school supplies. Highlighters, index cards, folders, paper, binders, tape, tissues, etc… I remember bringing all four kids at once and reading through each supply list. The cost of the contents seemed to grow larger every year. Especially when they needed the expensive calculator that was locked in a special box.
Back to school shopping would wear everyone out. At home they returned to their last hours of computer games, tv lounging, and swimming at the pool as summer vacation slowly slipped away. I filled out all my emergency forms, got their lunch contents for the week planned, and organized their school supplies. In less than twenty-four hours the house would be empty and quiet (except for me dancing around gleefully). Don’t get me wrong, I love summer vacation. I love having my kids home, no homework, and taking them on daily outings or just chilling out in the backyard. The long relaxed days off summer are for the most part wonderful with four kids.
There is also something kind of fun about the new school year. First day of school pictures, promotion to the next grade level, the packed up sack lunches, the bus stop, the quiet house, the cleaner house, the homecoming at the end of the afternoon with tales of the new teachers and classes. I love it all. Today was especially exciting because my two babies, Summer and Koda, started puppy school. I got their lunches ready, their supplies together, and drove them to meet their teacher. When I dropped them off Summer was eager and entered excitedly. Koda, true to his guarded temperament sat right at my side and wouldn’t budge. Just as I did when my kids started kindergarten, I kind of disappeared off to the side so the teacher could bring him away from me. It worked. He happily trotted away with her. I missed them while we were apart, but it was a sweet reunion a little later in the day.
My youngest son begins his senior year of high school tomorrow. Last child, last first day of the last year of school. The butterflies in my stomach have just moved to a lump in my throat. The time passed by far too quickly. He just stared kindergarten, how is it possible that he is a senior in high school? I bought him his new (size 15) shoes today, a new backpack, and binders, highlighters, and composition notebooks. He is ready. But am I?