Ah, the first day of the school year has finally arrived. For the past four years, since Annabelle started kindergarten, I admit I have dreaded this day. Not only does the first day of school signal the end of summer, it puts an end to lazy mornings and unscheduled days; to spur of the moment trips and the promise of adventures not yet envisioned.
This year was no different, but for the first time I was, in a tiny, un-acknowledged part of my brain, looking forward to school starting. With the end of spontaneity also comes a more predictable schedule; time to do chores that have built up over the long hot days, to ride and to write, to find a bit of the original-me left in the frazzled being that sometimes takes over the mom-me.
More than ever, too, the kids were ready to go back to school this year. Batman missed his friends, and was looking forward to spending recess and lunch breaks racing around the blacktop and tearing holes in his new khakis. Annabelle, who is nothing if not her mother’s daughter, said she was excited to start going to bed early and knowing exactly what she’d be doing when she got up the next day. Unlike her brother, who was looking forward to seeing his same old buddies, she was hoping she would have some new kids in her class to make friends with.
My selfless daughter was not only motivated by the chance to make new friends for herself One of my closest friends and her family moved to another state a couple of weeks ago. My friend had a son in Annabelle’s class and one in kindergarten, and we all spent a lot of time together over the past year or so; playdates that turned into dinners, a glass of wine that turned into hours of conversation, planning and commiserating and just plain hanging out. My sensitive daughter was worried, she said, the day that Kari and her husband left after picking the boys up from a final playdate to head toward their new life in Montana, “Who will be your friend now, mommy?” I blinked back a tear and reassured her I had lots of friends. “But not at school,” she said, knowing she had the final word.
Annabelle said she hoped that there might be a similar family taking their place at our sought-after charter; maybe one with a boy and a girl and a mom who liked to come over after school.
So in lots of ways, and for different reasons, I guess all of us were ready for school to start. As for me, I’ll ride and write; get the carpets shampooed and sort out the stack of filing in my office. I’ll catch up with old friends and keep my heart open for new, and listen with un-feigned fascination of the tales of the first days of second and third grade.
In the meantime, though, it sure is quiet around here.