Yesterday, I was asked why I hadn't posted my first day of school pictures on Facebook. I said, "I didn't take any." Wha??? Photog mom didn't document the first day of school??!! Yep. Bad mom!! I haven't since they were really young kids. So I thought about why I don't participate in this tradition.... and the only reason I could muster is this. I hate the first day of school and probably just as much if not more than my kids' aversion to it.
I'll remember what they looked like, what they wore, or what they would not wear based on what I picked out for them. I'll also remember sending my son off for his first day of middle school and seeing his face plastered against the bus window looking at me with apprehension and perhaps a tear in his eyes. I'll remember my daughter turning around frowning and rolling her eyes because she hates the cacophany of voices and the irritating bus driver who randomly yells at the kids for infractions they had unknowingly committed. It's the same bus driver who, after 9 months of me greeting her with "Good morning" and watching my kid get on the bus, finally turned up her lip a tad bit in what appeared to be a smile and raised her hand 6 inches to wave as if to say, “Yes, I'm just as miserable as the kids on this bus”.
I’ll remember how they each took their first walk to the bus stop without me while I worriedly watched from a half block away on my front steps not budging, poised in a race-ready stance to chase away any cars with strange men who might ask them for directions or, heaven forbid, do something even worse like say hello. I'd maintain my post until I saw a few more kids had arrived to keep them company on the corner. I’d wait 5 minutes for the bus and watch them look over their shoulder for a quick glance back at me but not for long because waving goodbye to mom would be embarrassing. Finally, I’d feel a bit better knowing I saw them board the bus on their way to, hopefully, spend their day in safe hands.
While some rejoice and relish in their kid-free days to come, I miss their company, their laughter, and their constant demands for more fun things to do because they’re bored. It doesn’t take long for all of us to get back in the groove of the school year and, yes, hate is such a strong word to use. But, as parents, I think we all feel that strongly about letting your child go alone, on their own: to a sleepover, to school, to college, to a new job, to a new city, or to a foreign country. Just for a split-second, perhaps for as long as a minute or two, I hate th
e first day of school.
My little Dora-look-a-like
My boy's last day of school. What a mixed bag of feelings that day is!!!