This time of year was always something I looked forward too. Well, at least since I was 27. That was the first year my son started school. From his first day of kindergarten (1997) to my daughter’s last day of high school (2013) I have been overcome with joy by the marking of the first day back to school.
Seeing their faces on that first day was wonderful. They were bright eyed, wondrous, looking forward to new adventures with new friends and at the same time marked by a complex amount of terror that is only reserved for those creatures that live in the closet and only come out on the darkest of nights in the quiet hours.
Then, as their experience levels raised, marked by the leveling up process known as moving into the next grade, that look of wonderment and fear slowly turned to joy and happiness.
Somewhere between the end of elementary school and the beginning of high school, that look changed again. Except this time is was the look of apathy. As if going to school had just become something you do and you knew there was nothing you could do about it.
That look faded as high school started and became the look of horror. Something inside them knew that this was the worst possible thing a parent could ever subject their children too. And it’s true, otherwise, none of you would be smiling right now thinking about the look on your own teenagers face as you usher them off to another day of torture at the hands of paid professionals.
Then the senior year. I don’t know what it was, but, the look was different. Almost as if it was like their first day of school all over again. They knew that this was it. They were at the top. Nine more months and all this would be behind them. No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks. All they had to do was just get through it.
Much to my pride (and a bit of surprise), they did. They graduated, proving in that one small moment in time that my children actually surpassed me (yes, I am a high school dropout).
And so marked the end of my enjoyment of watching their faces on that first day of school. Of watching them scream in terror, horror, resentment, and angst through the looks they gave me. Of seeing them…
Oh come on, who am I kidding. I don’t think I remember a single first day of school they went too. You know how early they have to get up to do that?
That’s way too early for me.
(but, I really am proud of them graduating)