Yes, it's that time of year. Time to try to get organized and start off the year right. The kids used to get excited to go back, but each year their excitement dwindles more and more.
This year the kids are both in junior high and are in the same building. This helps because we don't have to worry about conflicting school activities or trying to coordinate two different after-school pick-ups. Our school system has three elementaries in separate buildings and one building for 7th to 12th graders. It's a big change from being the top dog at the elementary to starting over being the youngest at junior high.
Last year was difficult for me. I remember driving up to the front of the school with Tyler. I wasn't sure of the proper drop-off procedure and I was nervously trying to figure it out (the last thing I wanted to do was to be "that mom" who had the whistle blown at or the principal chase down for breaking the rules). I was feeling a little rattled, then I started to sense that Tyler was nervous. We looked at all the kids as they walked up the school. They weren't the cute, little kids I was used to seeing. They were pimply, puberty-hitting little adults. The boys shaved for goodness sake! My sweet, little boy would be sharing the halls with kids who cursed, told dirty jokes, and pushed little kids around.
I watched Tyler as he picked up his backpack and started to open the car door. I felt myself starting to choke up as he slowly stepped out of the car. I really, really wanted to tell him that I loved him, but I did not want to cry. If I could have had a few more seconds, I could have pulled the emotion back in and I would have been okay. But, I didn't have a few more seconds. This was it, my last chance to tell my son that I loved him before he faced the crowd of teenage wasteland. So, as he was halfway out the door I gasped, "I love you!" in a pathetic crackly, high-pitched voice. He turned around and looked at me with a puzzled and kind of freaked out expression. I'm sure that really helped him to start his day well.
So, here we are one year later. This year as I took both kids to school, I didn't struggle with the same feelings as last year. Tyler survived seventh grade without any wedgies, swirlies, or sleezy girlfriends, so I figured Angel would be okay. By now, I had the whole drop-off thing down pat and I even knew some of the teachers and administration. I was feeling so good about school this year that I even tried to play a practical joke on the kids.
For just about every first day of school, I have always taken the kids' picture. My husband asked me if I was going to take one this year. I told him that I was going to take one before we left the house. Then the light bulb went off. I told my husband that it would be funny if I acted like I wanted the kids to stand in front of the school so I could take their picture. Can you imagine! We laughed and laughed just imagining their reaction. We even thought about getting out of the car with the camcorder and me acting like I was going to follow them into the school! So, as I confidently drove up to the school, I looked over at my daughter and saw her clutch her books and take a breath. In a very serious tone, I started, "So, would you guys mind standing by the building so I..." I couldn't do it. I busted out laughing.
Once again, my emotions got the best of me. And once again I got a strange look. Yeah, I guess my parents were weird when I was in junior high, too...