The First Day of School

Though the last day of summer is not until September 21st, today marks the day that we make the mental switch from summer to fall.  The forecast indicates that we are still to receive warm, summer-like weather but we have our symbolic sweaters and scarves at the front of our closets for today is the first day of school.  

What is it about the first day of school that has that undeniable feeling?  Whether you are a student, the parent of a student or neither of these, today has a certain meaning to us all.  It’s the smell in the air, the energy flowing about and the influx of activity in the city.  Backpacks, lunch pails and the crisp sound of fall leaves under our feet makes this season the more, if not the most, impactful one.   

The first day of school brings change almost in unison with the cool weather and changing colours we see on the trees.  For our family there is a big change this September as little S makes her way in a new school.  She has now moved on to the next level of her education and is no longer a toddler in the eyes of her school.  Luckily she was able to spend the last couple of weeks in August phasing into her new location and she will continue to see some familiar faces, but change is change, and there is always a transition period to be expected, not only for her, but for us as her parents.   

Nothing feels good about dropping your child off at school and having her cling to you for dear life begging you to stay with her.  We try to avoid pain and upset for our children at all costs yet when September comes we seemingly throw them to the proverbial wolves.  Dramatic?  Yes!  And so I should be.  This day not only marks the beginning of a new school year but also the inevitable fact that time moves so quickly and when it comes to your child growing up, that is always a bitter-sweet truth to realize.   

One thing that will stay the same – location:  she is only moving one block north; still within walking distance from our condo and work, so our routine will hold consistent for the most part.  New friends, new teachers and new experiences are all a welcomed part of life and nothing stays the same forever.  

I suspect that if each of you  dug through your old boxes and memorabilia you would find at least one of those faded pictures of yourself [and your siblings] dressed in your first-day-of-school outfits holding your Holly Hobby or G.I. Joe lunch pail and your brand-spanking new knapsack that is not yet worn in with perfectly square edges.  Missing teeth and pig-tails, clean white shoes and pencil cases filled with freshly sharpened pencil crayons and that look on your face of excitement for what is to come.  Who will your teacher be this year and whom of your friends will be in your class?   

So get your cameras out Moms & Dads and capture this moment as it won’t last forever.  To all the kids experiencing their ‘first day’ today, enjoy!  And to the parents who are having  a bit of a hard time with it, I’m there with you!  

My First Day of School 1983