Wednesday, September 9, 2009

First Day of School

Yesterday I had the privilege of walking our daughter, Hannah, to the bus stop for her first day of school. She’s entering the third grade at her new school in Blaine. For the past month (or so it seems) she’s counted down the days to the first day of school.

The first day of school is special for a number of ways. Allow me to share ten special qualities of the first day of school.

How many days do parents walk to the bus stop with cameras and camcorders? I felt a bit sheepish at first carrying my camcorder to the bus stop, but my neighbor lifted me up by also recording her kids’ every step to the bus. I’m not sure why I record the first day of school at the bus stop, but now I have four recordings of Hannah’s first day of school on camcorder tapes. Recording the bus driving down the street with the parents waving and half of them with tears running down our cheeks—that’s special.

How many days do kids go to bed willingly and without a struggle the night before? Hannah was practically counting down the time until she could go to bed this past Monday night. She looked forward to going to sleep, so she could wake up and experience the first day of school.

How many days do kids put out their clothes they are going to wear on the first day of school? Hannah has had her outfit hung in a special place for many days. It hung out in the open in her room like a monument—a reminder that something special was about to occur.

How many days do parents cook their children a special breakfast? We have a special tradition of my wife, Amy, making pancakes decorated as a smiley face. I even enjoyed that.

How many days do parents talk to each other at the bus stop? I met at least three new neighbors yesterday morning. I know, I know I should get to know my neighbors (and I have), but the first day of school is like a neighborhood reunion—even for those of us who haven’t lived in the neighborhood

How many days does the bus driver patiently wait for all the kids to climb the bus steps and then wait as all of us meddling parents take pictures of the kids who are on the bus? I learned and already forgot Hannah’s bus driver’s name. But at least I know his face and the next time I’m at the bus stop I’ll start a conversation with him.

How many days do parents talk so much during the day about taking their children to school and/or the bus stop? I would guess that most of my friends who use Facebook wrote something on their status update yesterday about the first day of school.

How many days do parents look forward to going home to learn about what happened at the first day of school? There probably isn’t a more anticipated day then the first day of school for parents to come home from work and learn about what happened.

How many days do parents go to the bus stop to welcome their children from the bus when they get home from school? Hannah told Amy that she would like her mom to greet her at the bus stop every afternoon when she gets home from school.

How many days bring back so many memories? I remember my first day of school in third grade—it’s a vague memory, but I still have it. As Hannah got her backpack together the night before the first day of school I shared with her that I used to use “Big Chief” notebooks (remember those?) in third grade. The type of notebook is different across generations, but the need for a writing utensil and for paper is the same.

The first day of school fuses the present and the past in an unique way.

If you have a thought about the first day of school, please share it in the comments section of this blog.

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