Jeepers creepers that was a fast one!
Summer that is.
I swear yesterday I was emptying backpacks and putting them away for two months, and this morning I took them down AND STILL FOUND RANDOM SHIT IN THEM FROM JUNE!
On the short drive to school today, the kids talked about the butterflies in their tummies. Nine said he had five butterflies in his, Seven said she had three. I had about FIFTY-THREE!!
Yesterday, as I was refreshing our school website over and over and over and over and over again, waiting for the class lists to be published, and fielding texts from many other anxious parents, something occurred to me. My own elementary school experience completely messed me up. To this day, walking into the kid's school and the unknown of new teachers, new classrooms, new and old friends (and/or frenemies) triggers all these feelings in me and I am once again, the new girl at school who doesn't fit in.
Except I am not that girl anymore. I am not the new kid on the block. I am a veteran at this school mom-ming stuff. I saw a new school parent first thing this morning and she lit up when she saw me and said, "Oh thank God, a familiar face."
This is what we all need right? Something or someone familiar, so we can tell all those butterflies in our tummies to calm the eff down. It's going to be okay. The kids will be alright. WE will be alright.
There were no tears from my own kids today. To be honest, there never have been on any of their first day of school drop offs. They are both so much more than I ever was or could have ever hoped for. Resilient, strong, adventurous, brave... especially in the face of far worse fates than just being the new kid.
I did witness some tears this morning and they broke my heart. One kid, the one everyone assumes is a "tough" guy, was sitting at the back of Seven's class with his head down trying to hide his wet face from all the other kids. I went over to see if he was okay and comfort him. I knew he would be eventually, but I didn't want to leave him like this. My own kid was happily ensconced between two friends and already ignoring me, but this little guy needed someone to tell him it would all work out, that it was OK to cry, and to know that someone SAW him.
I wonder how much of a difference that would have made for me all those years ago when I felt unseen, and unheard, and ashamed of my emotions? Maybe I am projecting a little here. OK, fine. A LOT! But I think this stuff matters. Our brains work in mysterious ways and walking into the school this morning, mine jumped right back to the beginning of grade four, wondering who would want to sit with me, if I would have any friends that year, and if my teacher would be as mean as the last one (seriously, my third grade teacher was a total Miss. Trunchbull).
And, I take my role as Villager Parent very seriously. I have the privilege and flexibility in my life to be able to do so. To be the parent hanging back at drop-off, or grabbing extra kids at pick-up. The one who is very often the volunteer tribute for field trips and parent council committees. The truth is, I like being a part of these school activities and events. Mostly because I enjoy getting to know the kids my own children are hanging out with day in and day out. So when someone does needs a comforting hand, or even a bit of a talking to, I am a grown-up they know and trust.
I'll check on this kid again tomorrow and you can bet, for the next few weeks as well. As for my own kids, for the first time in over two years, the first day of school was completely NORMAL for us.
I don't think any of us knew how much we needed that.