It’s almost that time again. The time when I clean out last year’s keep-forever folders so they’re ready to collect the keep-forevers from this year. When I get the camera ready for the first day and anxiously look up their new teachers in last year’s yearbook to try and remember if I’ve seen her scowling or smiling in the parent pick-up line. (They’re always smiling really, I’m just saying.. I check). When I look for bouquets of sharpened pencils online to accompany a post like this one, order the T-Rex backpack from nothingbutdinosaurs.com because the 5-dollar Wal-Mart one he picked out is so not good enough for his first year of school. When I finally buy an electric pencil sharpener and set up an honest-to-goodness get-your-homework-done tray for the house so we’re never frantic for pencils or rulers or glue.
But someone in my house doesn’t look on a new school year with quite such poetic optimism. He’s stressed. He’s moving to a different school building this year and a multi-classroom, multi-teacher format. But none of that is even the problem. It’s deeper, more consistent things that trouble him I think. He prefers home, prefers environments with fewer people, less potential for embarrassment or peer pressure… or embarrassment. He likes knowing exactly what’s expected of him at any given moment, and the first days of school can be kind of vague on that. He likes the friends he’s used to, the routine he’s already mastered, SUMMER.
It’s so hard to watch, these emotions. It’s so hard to hear that he faces them every year, every Monday after spring break, in fact, but has never really told me so before. There’s so little I can do to ease the pain – time and getting used to the new routine are about the only thing that will help. Even he knows this.
I think it helped him tonight that I had finally quit crying over the price of school supplies and was enjoying organizing them instead. I think it helped him that I’ve stopped complaining that their summer is over so soon. But it’s hard that I can’t just do those first few days for him. If there were any way I could, if I could adjust to the new routine, wear it in like a brand new pair of jeans, so that by the time he slipped it on, it just fit. If I could.