This morning, I put my two boys on two separate school buses at two different times and after I watched the yellow bus roll away, I cried more than I care to admit. I’m no stranger to this dance – or the reaction to each first day of school. My firstborn – who was JUST a newborn by the way – is excitedly off to his first day of, gulp, middle school – while my youngest will make his third grade debut. They are excited for the new year, mainly to see their friends, and I cannot wait to see what amazing things this school year has in store. For my oldest, its a milestone into junior high (sniff) and also means the first time in his 11 years of life that he has been in the same school as three of his best friends – no wonder he woke up before his alarm! For my youngest, it means a walk toward independence, being the lone NG brother at the elementary school. As a youngest child myself, I totally get that desire to forge one’s own unique identity, away from the shadow of one’s big brother – but as his mom, I really loved the security of knowing he had big brother on campus to look out for him. Today, he will learn how to look out for himself – if anyone is up for that challenge, I know it is him.
Every first day of school, I flashback to Noah’s first day of Pre-K and all those emotions I felt putting my baby boy on a school bus for the first time. He was so happy – I remember I had to call his name as he climbed on that big yellow bus just to snap a photo. I followed that big yellow bus to school that day, barely able to see from the floodgates that had ensued and joined several other emotional moms are we waited for our kiddos to emerge from that bus into school. I’ll never forget Noah’s reaction when he saw me (despite my best efforts to hide from his view) – “Hi Mommy! I’m going into my school now. You gonna be OK?” Nate’s first journey to school was a bit easier, perhaps because big brother was always right by his side. That is, until today. Gulp. Did I mention I am not good with firsts?
Back to school is always such a bittersweet day – this year in particular because it signals the end of what was probably the most magical summer ever for me. It was the first summer I stayed home with the boys and while that meant lots of sacrifices by our family to be able to do that, it meant late movie nights, morning snuggles in front of the television, nerf gun battles, countless swimming pool visits and fun road trips to determine where the best ice cream cones within an hour’s drive were located. I’ll miss those lazy days of summer and all that time with those boys – Nate calls it the “summer of us” – and I hope we can find more ways as a family to enjoy those kinds of moments now that the schedule is back to being jam packed with work, school and other activities.
As I reapply my eye makeup and excitedly stalk the clock for the end of the school day – and that big yellow bus to bring my babies back home – I am happily scrolling my social media feed to see smiling faces of my fellow mom’s and dad’s proud back to school photos. Today’s social media feed is probably my favorite of the year because it reminds of the fresh start that back to school brings for all of us. A fresh start – while often scary and hard on the mascara – is an opportunity to begin again. Whether it is literally back to school for a new year or semester or simply a day to reset your resolve and start with your own fresh start, I love the hopeful optimism that I see in all those back to school photos. So, we cry a little about the passage of time and the milestones that we are moving through at warp speed but we also beam with pride at the sheer fact that we got to this point to begin with. Wishing all of the students a great first day of school, an even better second day of school and an amazing ear ahead. Whether it is elementary school, junior/senior high, college or just the school of life, I hope today begins the next chapter of something magical for you. Now, how much longer until those boys of mine get home????