I’m not one of those moms that counts down the days till school starts. I’ve mentioned it before, harped on it really, but I love summer and I’m always sad to see it end. This year I found myself dreading the start of school even more than usual. I was so vocal about it that Noel told me on multiple occasions, “You know, life isn’t over when school starts. We can still have fun.” As I contemplated my overwhelming feelings of apprehension I reflected on last school year and realized I was emotionally bracing myself for another doozy of a year. As a quick recap of last school year, Noel had surgery on his broken arm on the first day of school, a week later I suffered a lapse of judgement and agreed to be a long-term sub at a middle school, the second that ended Glenna was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer and we started to make plans for her to come live with us so we could be her caretakers, in the middle of that, my grandpa died, then Donald Trump became president, and finally Glenna passed away at the end of February after several months of struggle. We limped through the next few months and I really was only just starting to feel like a functioning human being by the time school ended. It’s safe to say last school year was a little bit traumatizing. It was definitely affecting my attitude towards this school year.
It didn’t help that this summer was pretty amazing. Not because we did anything earth shattering, but because we found ourselves again. In the wake of loss, we were emboldened to live each day as if it might be our last. We spent a lot of quality time with the kids. We read books and stopped caring about things that don’t really matter, like the lawn. We spent time with good friends. We healed. It was blissful and I didn’t want it to end.
Fortunately, the start of this school year has so far been nothing like the last. On the first day of school we road bikes with Cooper to school. (In case you don’t follow me on FB or Instagram, he can ride a bike now!!!!!) He marched into school with his new second grade class. This was the easiest parting we’ve had and thankfully no one had to rush off to get surgery afterwards.
Ellen had to wait a few hours for her first day. At the kids’ school they do a “Getting to Know You Day” for the first day of kindergarten. They split the class into morning and afternoon and parents get to go to school with the kids for a few hours. Because of our last name, we were in the afternoon group. Ellen was sort of disappointed that we were going with her and asked, “When do I get to go by myself?” She already loves her teacher and school. We picked Cooper up after school and road our bikes home where we had cookies and milk. Way better than last year when I had to have friends pick up the kids because I was waiting for Noel’s anesthesia to wear off. (Noel says he hardly even remembers the first day of school last year.)
I know that life isn’t done dishing us hardships and sorrows, but for right now I’m glad this school year has started out benignly. Here are a lot of pictures from our undocumented summer adventures and the first day of school.