Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First Day Jitters

With a heavy heart we say goodbye to summer. 

video

Fall was in the air until this week.  It has been an unseasonably cool August until now.  No surprise that this is also the week that school starts.  It always feels hotter when school starts.  Happy first day of school kids.  Highs will reach 105.  (And did.)

Besides the weather, the mood has also changed around here.  Summer is basically over with the beginning of school.  The kids have been more on edge.  It’s obvious how excited yet nervous they have been for several days now.  The anticipation has been killing them. 

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We got the kids new backpacks and shoes a week or so ago.  They were so excited to try everything out when we got home. 

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Gwen insisted on wearing her new shoes too and her jacket.  Any time you say the word school she automatically says, “I want a princess backpack!”  She thinks she’s in kindergarten too. 

There were some tears when I told the kids that they could not wear their shoes or use their backpacks until school started.  I remember getting new stuff for school when I was a kid.  It was so exciting.  But at the same time I always felt like the new clothes and whatnot were my consolation prize.  As if my parents were buying me off in a way.  “If you just go to school you can have new things!” 

As the first day got closer the jitters got stronger.  Last night Gavin was groaning that he had wasted his summer.  I reminded him that he didn’t.  Funny how it always feels that way.  There is never enough time to do all the nothing we want.  The video serves as a reminder of all the fun we had this summer. 

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Yesterday was Parker’s first day of school.  Sort of.  The school has a practice kindergarten day where the parents are expected to stay with their child for a 30 minute deal in the classroom.  It was interesting this time around. 

With Gavin it was rules rules rules.  Everything was given the utmost importance and everything was talked about as if it meant the difference between life and death.  With Parker, his teacher talked to the parents for about 30 seconds and then turned the kids loose to explore the room and play.  Minimal instructions. 

So minimal that most of the kids clung to their parents and stared around clueless on what to do.  Too many choices and not enough guidance.  I figured there was a method to her perceived madness. 

I don’t know this woman.  She has been teaching longer than I’ve been alive.  I know.  Another one.  I have to stay optimistic.  It’s kindergarten, how bad could it be?  I try not to laugh since it only makes me cry!  I’m scared.  I don’t want the kids to know but I am.  Regular parental fears but also that paranoia that we will repeat another bad year.  I have to believe it will all be ok. 

Last night Heath gave the boys each a priesthood blessing, a special blessing from Heavenly Father given through the power of the priesthood to help guide them through the year.  Gwen was very reverent for each one.  Then stood up and said, “My turn!  My turn!”  Heath didn’t even flinch.  He let her sit down and he put his hands on her head while I wondered what he would say.  Then he said, “Gwenny, you are adorable.  I love you lots and lots.  Amen.”  She was so proud.  It wasn’t given in the authority of anything or in the name of anyone so it wasn’t real but she was happy. 

After the kids were in bed Heath gave me a priesthood blessing as well.  Everything will be ok.  I’m grateful that I am married to a man who has the priesthood and is worthy to use it. 

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This morning went well.  Gavin was nervous all morning until we started driving.  Then he dug deep and pulled out this enthusiasm I wasn’t expecting.  Good for him.  That’s how I live my life sometimes.  I fake it until I make it. 

Hundreds of people were milling around making it virtually impossible to find Gavin’s line.  But we were prepared for that.  We finally found his line (they should number the lines in numerical order!) when I saw my next door neighbor.  I was excited to find out her daughter is in Gavin’s class. 

We got a little lost going to the classroom because several lines started moving at once.  It wasn’t really lines moving as much as a mass exodus of people!  We walked around the B building but couldn’t see the classroom so we walked inside and found it that way.  It’s right across the hall from the room he was in last year.  The teacher helped him find his seat. 

I looked around and felt at peace with the number of familiar faces.  Kids from kindergarten, kids from first grade, our neighbor, parents I saw every day last year walking with their kids.  Gavin is going to have a great year.  I roll my eyes that the other Gavin W is in the same class as my Gavin W!  They lived through kindergarten that way.  They can do it again.  His parents are really nice. 

Parker was much more confident today than he was yesterday.  We said our goodbyes at the door but the teacher invited the parents in for a minute.  Then we said goodbye again and left.  He’s fine.  I know he is.  He’s Parker.  

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Gwen’s been my pal and special helper all afternoon as I’ve cleaned the house.  She still wants to go to school and she misses her brothers but she is adjusting better than I thought she would.  Another little sister, Gwen’s age, was very upset to have to say goodbye to her brother.  That family is in the stake.  We don’t know each other but we’ve seen each other around at different stake activities.  We were pretty excited to see each other yesterday.  My kids don’t need to have another Mormon in their class but it is comforting to know someone else believes the same way we do. 

Here’s to a successful year. 

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