Monday, August 25, 2014

A Different Kind of Holiday

It's that time again.  Time for the morning traffic to really suck.  Time to get up an hour earlier --on weekdays on purpose, and on the weekends because we can't help it.  Time to forget to pack lunches, sign permission forms, wash gym clothes and clean out backpacks.  And, most of all, dear God, it's time for homework again.  It's Back to School. 

You'd think it was a freakin' holiday, though, from all our carrying-on. 

One of my childless Facebook friends posted gleefully this morning that she was on her way out of town for a glorious week at the beach.  And she knows, oh, she knows, what we are all up against here at home.  Now that's a holiday. 

Remember how happy we were for the school year to be over back in June?  How we heralded the bliss of summer's sweet approach?  How we said we'd savor every day?  Where did that time go?  How did we get here?  Shopping our heads off for school supplies, for the first day's perfect outfit, for the ultimately cool backpack, and for the Kleenex, oh, don't ever forget the Kleenex.  Sigh.  It was so much more fun to pack for the beach.  "Only 280 days till summer vacation," said another Facebook friend today. 

As I stood in line at the grocery store yesterday, I used the time wisely to calculate* that I have participated in approximately 62 "first days of school." This includes K-12 and college first days for me and my 3 girls.  And I began to ponder on why it's such a big deal.  My youngest, Zoe, is starting the 7th grade this year.  I remember myself in the 7th grade, oh my goodness.  This was a HUGE year for me.  I had just moved to San Antonio, Texas and was about to start Ed White Middle School where I would meet life long friends Carla, Kat and Dawn.  I am still thankful that they put up with me talking endlessly about how things had been "in Florida" where I had just left.  It was such a critical year, but I was as clueless as it gets.  There is so much more awareness these days about kids' developmental needs. I dodged a thousand bullets that year, but my mom reads my blog, so that's all I can share about that now.  ;)

Figuring that the experiences of my two oldest daughters would be more relevant today, and since I am a cataloger and an historian, I went home to the archives to continue my pondering.  Here are the memory books of Ariel, left, (now 26) and Lacey, right, (now 21) from the 7th grade: 

It was great fun for Zoe and I to look at what was saved in Ariel and Lacey's School Years books.  Both attended Bradley Middle School, like Zoe is now.  Ariel was a 7th grader in 2000 and Lacey in 2005**.  Ahh, the memories.  Zoe was especially enamored with the Ariel artifacts.  Her first comment was, "Look at all the awards Ariel got." A special find was "The Ariel Journal" in which Ariel wrote an article about the first 4 Harry Potter books she had "read 3 times."  This was written on the back of  a Big Brothers Big Sisters flyer (back when we were still only the "Alamo Area").  I was delighted to see and remember Lacey's theater arts interpretive presentation grade report. It was on "Fear of Germs" by George Carlin.  Oh joy!  Missing was a "poem- Halloween" promised in Lacey's archive.  As much as I would love to read now a 7th grade poem about Halloween penned by Lacey, my disappointment was mitigated by all the memorabilia from the night she was awarded the coveted Bradley "Silver Star Award for Citizenship." Memories!  Accomplishments!  Celebration!  Life! 

So to make a long story short, I remember now why today's legitimately a holiday.  It's because I still have another archive to record, and it all starts today.  First day of School Number 63. 

*I use the term calculate as loosely as my brain is capable of math.
** I pointedly note that both my older girls are wearing shorts on those first Texas days of school, which are now prohibited for Zoe.  This is the subject of a future blog post rant. 

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