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.