The picture of me looks like this: gangly legs with tall white knee socks, black and white saddle shoes, misshapen faux horn glasses way too big for my face, and a plaid, pleated skirt with a gigantic decorative safety pin, something you’d find on a Halloween costume. 

Understandably, there was always a sort of insouciance about going back to school. Unlike earthquakes, it was just something that happened every year when the hottest days of summer had run their course and my mother ditched the tube tops and started wearing normal clothes again.

Pregnancy lasts for nine months because this is about an adequate amount of time to learn every thing you need to know about childbirth, newborns, sleep “training”, every manner of disciplinary option available to you in your future parenting years that will not land you in prison, and finally, how to successfully raise an accomplished, respectable and civilized person of the world.

And then the baby is born. And you learn about all the things you didn’t know you needed to learn about: preschool waiting lists, dual immersion educational options and vaccinations—which ones, in what combinations, at what age, and how often?

Right about the time that kids learn to sleep properly—something that befuddlingly takes years—then they need to learn how to wake up early and get dressed, be breakfasted and alert enough to pack up the previous day’s completed homework to meet the school bus, usually before the sun comes up.

This whole “childhood” thing is not for the inexperienced.

Which brings me back to the first day of school. As I looked at my friends’ Instagram posts of their kiddos' “First Day of School” pictures, hashtagged #iwontcry and #summerisover, complete with wheeled backpacks and brave, toothless faces standing tall on their front porches and sidewalks, I felt a little pang of regret, envy even.

And then I leaned over and looked at my six year-old, still asleep at 8 o’clock, her eyelashes dancing with a dream, the filtered morning sun throwing patterns across her cheeks—and stole away to walk the dog in the dew heavy grass before we started our first day of school, in pajamas, over hot chocolate, first grade books already littering the kitchen table.

Stephanie Scheidt
9/2/2014 12:32:18 pm

I fought the urge to post the first day of school picture... I didn't. It's all mine. I did drop the kids off 15 minutes late, at a new school, with enough stress on my pre teen other than the late status of her mom. Wow. Traffic. First day of school. Figured I had driven 1.5 hours and used a 1/4 tank of gas before arriving at work. hmmmmmm You make life look good.......I envy that

9/4/2014 03:20:55 pm

How about you jumping into the icy Pacific and SUPping my child to a wild abandoned beach on some remote Channel Island for some play time with your kiddos--who you had also already paddled through the waves! Now that sets a new bar for making life look good, effortless and completely awesome...

9/2/2014 12:34:38 pm

I love it! You are an amazing mom and will be a fantastic life teacher. I only wish I was a butterfly on the wall of your kitchen/classroom. Much Love! Sher!

9/4/2014 02:58:18 pm

I should say I learned much of it from you, always the "little mother" and nurturer in our friendship growing up during these awkward years. You, Sher, have been a beacon in my journey of life, faith, motherhood. Xoxo

Ur Stister
9/2/2014 01:13:48 pm

Those tube tops were THE WORST! Mr. Fleck was the only person who liked them. Creepy old dude. Happy first day of 1st grade little one. Can't wait to see you guys!
Love and miss,
Your stister and her Tee Tee.

9/4/2014 03:22:08 pm

Tube tops with stripes and the solid color variety--talk about rocking the 80s like no other mother! We all love and miss you, my one and only....

Vanessa Boshoff
10/22/2014 09:52:26 pm

Cara, I just had to reread this again, as school is on my mind for little Cam next year...such a lovely post.


Leave a Reply.