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School's Back in Session

Picture Alice Cooper singing the title. It makes it a lot more exciting.

But in all it's rocking glory, I guess it was really going to happen…school was actually going to start again. Like kids in classrooms with teachers. Real school!

We enjoyed a fairly leisurely summer. It was the first summer our girls were able to stay up late every night and sleep in every morning. There was no schedule. They had a "real" summer, and I was so happy for them. It made me happy that we could finally make that happen for them...all be it was due to the Coronavirus, but we made it happen nonetheless.

But the late nights and late mornings meant a HUGE adjustment if they had to get up for school. HUGE. And school was just around the corner. But much to my surprise...

...the kids set an alarm for 6:50 a.m. the night before the big day so they could be up and ready before their cousin arrived at 7:00. (She is going to be our new morning and after-school buddy. :)) Their outfits were picked out. Their backpacks held completed school paperwork and checks for random school necessities. Masks were piled on the kitchen counter so they could make their selection for the day. We had visited the school twice during the week for the Open House nights and dropped off their school supplies, met their teachers, and got an idea of what was happening in the building. We felt sort of ready for the first day of 2020 - 2021. "As ready as we're ever gonna be."

The next morning, I woke up early to get some of my "chores" done before I had to wake the girls up, and low and behold, the girls woke up on their own. That was a miracle in and of itself. Could it be? They WANTED to go to school??

When my niece arrived, it was obvious all three girls were full of excitement! And then, they had to wait….for nearly an hour…full of excitement. "What time is it?" "How much time before we leave?" Let's pretend we know how to play the piano, "clang, clang clang".

"Do NOT come to school before 8:00 a.m.!" At least that's what the school announcement said. ;) You know - I really like those types of specific instructions. For reals.

There was a whole lot of hustle and bustle in our neighborhood around 7:55 a.m. Thursday morning. It was like the town had come alive! High School kids driving to school. Moms and dads driving their kids. Kids on bikes and legs. I did what I could to keep our kids from leaving the house too early. But they just couldn't take it anymore. They saw their other cousins down the street at their grandparents', and just had to leave to meet up with them...and our adorable neighbor across the street followed. There was a whole brood of kids walking and biking to school - and probably arriving a few minutes early…masks and water bottles in tow.

I was happy the kids were going to get to go to school again, but I was nervous as all get out, too. (School gives me anxiety. Having to remember every single thing that your kid(s) have to bring to school, and the homework and projects, and making sure your child doesn't look homeless as you send them out the door (because that's their favorite outfit - homeless). The checklist. The to-do's. I can't mentally handle it.) Of course I'm worried about the health and safety of my children, too, but I was more concerned about the "changes" my kids were going to experience. There would be a lot more rules. A lot less physical movement. There would be so much space (6 feet to be exact). And now, totally unrelated to Covid, our kids would be able to walk to and from school since I would be working from home most days. The school is super close to our house, but it still makes me nervous. There would be so much newness. So many precautions. How would this make them feel? Would it make them worried? I have a feeling these changes are bigger issues for me than our girls.

Jake and I stood on the deck for a minute or two after we could no longer see the girls, and then decided we probably should get to work. And so I retreated to my office in the empty and quiet house, and Jake went to his office in the garage. And we worked.

I went back outside after my daily morning meeting to visit our garden, which I have done every day since it has been planted, and for the first time while doing that I heard kids playing…the students at their first recess of the school year. The kids were shouting and laughing. It was so…eerily familiar. A sound that usually makes your heart happy, and it certainly did, but a new instinct kicked in, and it made me feel worried. Because the sound of children playing together means the potential spread of…Covid. But I ignored that feeling, and listened to them a little longer. I tried to envision the kids running around with their masks on….which naturally led to me imagining how I would inevitably pass out if it were me instead of them. But kids are tougher than I am.

So as I worked in mostly silence the rest of the morning, it felt strange. The girls had been gone off and on during the summer….going to the pool, visiting their cousins, etc, but to know they were at school, and, here's the kicker, I didn't have to feed my kids lunch…THAT was weird. I've been feeding those always hungry kids 24-7 for five months. And on the first day of school, they didn't even want to eat breakfast here. I'm not complaining about the instantaneous lightening of my daily work load, but it was something I wasn't really prepared for! So when I got hungry at 11:30, I ate leftovers from the night before - stress free. Okay. I might be able to get used to that.

But their first day of school ended at 1:00, so they returned home early (while I was on a conference call so I couldn't interrogate them about their first day right away!).

The noise was back. The bursting into my home office occurred (in the middle of the conference usual). Kitchen cabinets were raided, and all was right with the world.

Day 1 done, and we all survived.

On to Day 2.

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