So, another academic term has begun...and while I'm normally all gung ho about it, like "Whoo hoo! It's been a looong Summer, time to get those kids back in the classroom!"...this year feels different to me...and I'm not entirely sure why. It could have something to do with the fact that--unlike when I was interpreting on the semester schedule--I'm going off to work and not seeing the kids quite as much. Well...at least Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m., when they haven't even emerged from their Teen Caves yet...until about 2:15 when I walk back in the door...so yeeeaaah, that's not too much of a factor, really.
Or...it might stem in part from Riley's injury, which curtailed our ability to take Friday Field Trips and go exploring like we're used to doing. Because his whole vacation was spent either on crutches, or under fairly strict orders regarding the list of allowed and prohibited activities, we weren't able to be our usual adventurous selves (outside of the already-planned Seattle, Atlanta, and Maryland trips, of course--so it wasn't like we sat around...staring at our belly buttons for the whole break...thank goodness!) Still, it didn't feel to me like Summer could be over...since it never really had a chance to take its natural course, if that makes sense.
But, if I'm being totally honest, there was another factor influencing my Back to School Blues: for some reason, it hit me this time that there are actually a finite number of First Days left for my boys in their K-12 careers. I mean, this was Derek's second-to-last one, for crying out loud, and even Riley only has four more. Perhaps I've just been in denial up to this point (an extremely likely option...and one of my favorite conditions...) but suddenly that little bit of reality snuck its way past my protective mental barriers--which I suspect all moms have, in order to shield themselves from becoming emotional wrecks on a regular basis as they're confronted with the undeniable evidence of their children growing up and winging their way toward adulthood. (Shudder--NOPE, not going there--lalalalaI'mnotlistening...)
Anyway, whether I was ready or not, Opening Day loomed. As is typical of them, the boys adopted verrrry different approaches to their preparations. We had already raided Staples for supplies, so there were no last-minute, "Moooom, I need xyz!" the night before. The only such inquiry came from Derek, who came looking for me to ask, "Remember that big pack of lucky pencils we bought? Where are they?" (Please don't ask me why the perfectly mundane, plastic, multicolored mechanical pencils are supposed to bring good fortune, because I have no idea...) As I pointed him to the spot where I'd safely stashed them until they were needed, he pulled them out and exclaimed dramatically, "Yeah! Look at these--they just SCREAM 'good grades', don't they?" Alrighty, then...let's hope so (my big gooberhead)...
In contrast, Riley meticulously checked his required materials...and his backpack...with my supervision, which he'd requested...no fewer than THREE times. What can I say? He likes to be thoroughly organized, and in control of the situation as much as possible. (Something springs to mind about an apple... and a tree...) Then there were special circumstances to discuss...such as the fact that, being an 8th grader, he won't be eating lunch until late, so he's permitted to bring a snack to tide him over--and what would be good choices to keep in one's locker in this case? (We decided on granola bars and raisins, by the way...) And, how about letting his PE instructor know that he might not be able to fully participate in all sports yet? (I emailed Coach H, who was super-kind and understanding about the whole thing, while also putting Riley's mind at ease--now that's a great first impression, right there!)
Next, there was a shocking development that I forgot to consider beforehand: the High School Transportation Conundrum. You see, Derek and his friends are now all 16-year old Juniors, and some of the gang have already received their full-fledged Driver's Licenses...as well as the coveted Parking Pass that affords them a spot on campus. Therefore Derek informed me that--although he wasn't 100% sure of the grand scheme just yet, he would likely be catching a ride with one of the guys instead of riding the bus. To which I replied, "Um, just hold on a minute there, mister. This will be discussed in further detail and approved, before it goes forward." His response was an uncharacteristically huffy, "Well, I'm NOT riding a mostly empty bus...with Freshmen! That is not happening!"
Ay yi yi. As it turned out--after some pretty in-depth quizzing--the plan held up to parental scrutiny and was okayed. Besides that mini-speed-bump (sorry!) there's been a little homework... (including Riley practicing his new Spanish vocabulary...with me...which I naturally L-O-V-E. One kid may be done with the language, but I've got another one to tutor for at least the next several years. Yaaaayyyy!)some readjusting to earlier bedtimes and wake-ups...and the inevitable beginning-of-school forms to sign (Ugh!). But all-in-all, things seem to be proceeding fairly smoothly a few days into the first week, so we'll keep our fingers crossed that the trend continues.
And this year, for possibly the first time ever, I don't think I'll be counting down to the end like I usually do...but instead trying to remember to appreciate every moment of Riley's last Middle School....and Derek's penultimate High School year. (By the way, how about the SAT word? Yikes, we'll be dealing with THAT this year as well! Sigh...) Right...someone remind me I said this in, oh, April or so, when we're all sick of it and longing for second semester to just be over, already. Oh well, we're off to a good start; hopefully we can (all) maintain a positive attitude until then!