It's that time of year again. New pencils, the rubbery smell of fresh tennis shoes, the pristinely ordered backpacks. It's time for new schedules and finding lockers and syllabus reading.
I wrote about it last year, how I knew I would feel my decision to stay home with Blythe more during these warm days that are melting into fall. I would feel my decision more as young boys began football practice and teachers started shoving desks around in their classrooms.
And I do… I feel it. I feel it.
I liken it to when you're growing up and there are two events happening on the same day: your favorite cousin is getting married and your best friend is having a birthday party. You want to be both places, but it's just not possible. You know you'll have fun at the wedding. You know you'll have fun at the party. But a decision has to be made and you access it from all angles, throw your hands in the air, and make the best decision you can. But then you see pictures from the birthday party you didn't attend, or one of the girls calls you to ask exactly how you make that popcorn the way you do, and you're reminded of all your missing out on.
It's the time of year that I feel like I'm missing out on my best friend's birthday party.
I always loved and loathed the first day of school: I didn't like the panic that set in the days and moments before that first bell would ring; the restless sleep worrying that I had forgotten something essential. I didn't like the meetings and orientations that demanded new strategies and curriculum guidelines. I didn't like finally admitting that the students I had the year before were truly gone, no longer under my teacher-ship and no longer a part of the weird family we had created in that little classroom of 30 desks. I loved the excitement and the attention to detail that teachers and students alike brought to that first day-- the excitement and attention that wane as fall melts into winter and Christmas break can't come soon enough. I loved getting a fresh batch of kids, with their bright eyes, and new clothes, and fresh hair cuts. I loved picking out that first, perfect back-to-school outfit, trying to meld professionalism with a touch of trendy so the kids would still think I was cool. I loved working so hard and so diligently those first few days back to create a beautiful, safe space where we could all learn and like each other.
And it is for those reasons that as the bus drives by tomorrow, and I get Blythe's breakfast ready, I will be sad. I will feel like I am missing out on the party, even though I'm attending another great event [which is beautiful and awesome in its own right].
I have missed teaching from the moment I made the decision to stay home. But I'm still glad I made that decision. It just all gets confusing this time of year.
Make any sense?
[Here is where I've written about some of my other prep and first days of teaching: here, here, here, here]