The start of a new school year is still exciting for a third grader. I say this with authority after an exhaustive interview yesterday with the sole member of our household able to validate this claim. Over a plate of nachos – the favorite celebration food of first day of school survivors everywhere – I was able to surmise that much of this excitement was related to a freeze on homework for the first week of school. Nothing but meeting old friends, making new friends and getting used to seating arrangements. Seating arrangements can be one of the most important elements of a new classroom and teacher. Hopefully Ella’s immediate neighbor doesn’t eat glue, pick their nose excessively or throw spitwads. I am not sure that anyone can escape such episodes without permanent emotional scarring. I am sure that had I been seated next to a different person in third grade I would now be a famous NASA astronaut or a scientist credited with finding a cure for cancer. Alas, I sat next to a chronic nose picker thus setting the stage for a life as a Loan Officer.
I was amazed yesterday at the physical toil involved with lugging Ella’s backpack for a few blocks. I wasn’t sure if my child had decided to pack a “my first bricklayer” kit into her backpack or if I just really need to hit the gym. I expected a trowel and mortar to drop out after two or three blocks and was relieved to see several parents with the same look of partial exertion from lugging backpacks of their own. I’m certainly hoping that the load is a little lighter over the course of the next few weeks. Having an eight year old with a herniated disk can’t be normal. Speaking of normal, I can hear my child singing “Material Girl” by Madonna upstairs as I am blissfully typing away in the dining room. Where on earth did she learn that song? I hope she doesn’t start wearing bangles or leg warmers to class – having a mini-Madonna in the house will likely push my sanity over the edge.
This year Ella is adding choir to her already busy schedule. Although seemingly impossible, it seems that each year gets a little busier than the previous year. Between girl scouts, swim practice, homework and time spent with friends I am beginning to wonder if my wife and I will begin to be an afterthought. I know that it’s normal for our kids to spend less time with us as they get older but I don’t know if I am quite ready for that adjustment just yet. I’m sure that most parents say something similar. It’s amazing to me how so much of what I feel and what I say seems so cliché when I look at it objectively. And yet, the reality is that I am not yet ready for my daughter to be too grown up just yet.
I am now giving my girl the five-minute warning – she has about 5 minutes to get down to breakfast so that we can rush out of here and make it to the bus stop on time. I’m hoping the backpack isn’t quite so heavy today. Happy first week of school everyone.