This post was unplanned as this blog remains mostly neglected these days. But this morning, Charlie asked me to help her with her hair and I realized that she was so tall, I couldn’t look down at the top of her head anymore. I thought, “I should document this moment,” which led to this post.
When people ask me why I don’t post anymore, there are a couple answers:
First, my kids are not babies/toddlers/preschoolers anymore and they mostly sleep through the night. I don’t feel the compelling need to vent all of my parenting frustrations about sleep deprivation and tantrums and the monotonous existence one lives with super young kids. (Hang in there, new moms… we see you.)
Second, more importantly, my current parental frustrations and concerns are too entwined with issues they may not want me to share, so end of story. As older kids, their stories are their own now. (Some might argue they always were, but they were too young to articulate that so too bad for them.)
Yet this remains a place for me to record, preserve, remember… so here goes.
Happy First Day of School to everyone who’s celebrating.
I LOVE the First Day of School.
I know you guys are somewhat less enthusiastic about it because in addition to your excitement over new teachers and classes and eagerness to see friends you missed over the summer, you’re also dealing with nerves (what if my teacher is not as cool as they seemed yesterday?), social anxiety (what if I don’t have friends in my classes?) and sure, a little bit of dread (ugh, homework).
I feel those things too; I’m also nervous you won’t love your teacher, anxious that navigating the social scene will be tricky this year and sure, I also feel a little bit of dread (ugh, helping you with homework). But for the most part, I love the fresh start/blank canvas/empty notebook/other clichés for the beginning of something feeling of The First Day of School.
Even when you’re returning to the same school you’ve been attending for years, with mostly the same kids, the first day of school is ALWAYS a chance to start over. Nothing from last year counts, if you don’t want it to… not the grades, fights, games, scores, problems, the time you threw up in the hallway… it’s all washed away (literally in the case of the vomit) which leaves a clean slate for this new year. (Ooh, clean slate… that’s another good metaphor.)
We’re rolling into this new year a little bit more low-key than in the past. We didn’t shop for new clothes; we didn’t get haircuts. We did order new sneakers, but they haven’t arrived yet. Two out of three of you were fine using the same backpacks you’ve used for multiple years already. I didn’t do a massive pantry cleanout or stock the fridge with too many healthy stacks that you won’t eat.
But we did take the First Day of School pictures (this is VERY important… you won’t understand why until you have kids and Facebook) and we reviewed our motto… Kindness & Confidence.
Kindness: Pretty self-explanatory. Always our #1 goal. Not complicated. Be kind. To everyone. The new kid, your old friends, the kids you’ve known forever but aren’t really friends with, your new teacher, your old teachers, the people who work in the cafeteria (ESPECIALLY the people who work in the cafeteria because they feed you most days), the bus driver, the Kindergarteners on the bus with you… you get the point.
Confidence: This does not mean that you should think you are better than anyone. You’re not. I just want you guys to have confidence in who you are. Be yourself. You do you, as the young people say (do the young people say that?). Be confident enough to always make good choices, to advocate for yourself when necessary and for others, if appropriate. Walk tall.
(And chew with your mouth closed. Sorry, not really related to confidence but I couldn’t resist throwing it in because you guys sometimes struggle with that and it can be gross.)
Charlie, in the past month, you officially became a teenager and you grew about 17 inches. When you asked me to put your hair up this morning and I realized that I couldn’t look down at the top of your head anymore, I almost cried. Just thinking about all those times – those many, many, many times – that I looked down to check your scalp for lice makes me weepy. (Because of the lice, I mean. Please don’t get lice again because now I can’t see the top of your head anymore so I probably wouldn’t catch it early and then we’d have an infestation on our hands and you know what, I’m too old for that and so are you.)
You’re walking into 8thgrade with a lot of unknows about what this year will look like. Who cares? Unknown = new = exciting = might be better. Regardless, it’s your last year of middle school and it’s sure to be an interesting ride. You have a great attitude, fantastic friends, the one new backpack in the family and a crazy ass dog… you’ll be fine.
Declan, you’re also at the top of the school… 5thgrade! This is a super fun year with special 5thgrade field trips, events and parties. It’s so exciting that you have your first male teacher who fully embraces weirdness. (I’m totally not calling you weird, D… just saying that I love a teacher who sees quirkiness as a good thing instead of a deficit.)
I don’t necessarily want you to think of fifth grade as a winning game, but if you work hard and keep your game face on this year, you will – as Dad would say – dominate.
Grayson, I loved how excited you were yesterday when you realized that this year you get to BE the buddy instead of HAVE a buddy. That is a very cool perk of being a 3rdgrader! Also, you get to do the tug-o-war at Field Day for the first time! What else? A whole new world of books to read and vegetables to try! (I know, not school-related but had to sneak it in.) I can’t wait to see where your love of words, characters and stories carries you this year.
Some people think that if there’s something you really want, writing it down and “sending it out to the universe” will help you receive it. I don’t know, it’s something about manifesting your own destiny or something… maybe the phases of the moon and the tides are involved? Not sure. But let’s try. Here are my Wishes for the New School Year.
- Top lockers* and/or backpacks that weigh less than 10 lbs.
- Teachers who offer “extra recess” or “No Homework passes” as rewards
- Solid friendships with old friends and the anticipatory excitement of new ones
- New books that will help develop or strengthen your love for reading
- Laughs, laughs, laughs (always “with,” never “at”)
- Projects that inspire and teams/groups that work well together
- No calls/emails home about “incidents” or infectious diseases.
- Teachers who see you, get you and support the way you and your brains
- More popcorn chicken*
(Please note: I don’t particularly care that much about this, but I know you guys do, so I’m adding it.)
OK, time to crush 3rd, 5thand 8thgrades. But in a kind way.
Love you all the most,
PS. Yes, I realize I used my kids’ real names in this post. It was time. You all know who they are anyway.