Back to School Time

The past few weeks have been a series of my peeps posting pictures of their kids’ first days back to school or at least talking about the event. I “think” they’re all back now.

Every mention brought the same response from me, “Oh, I love that child!” I felt that way even when the child in question was legally an adult. There’s something so exciting about that first day and seeing the joyous, sometimes nervous, smiles on their faces that brings back my memories of those times.

A chance at a fresh start, a new outfit, fresh school supplies, the opportunity to catch up with your friends about their summer activities, meeting your teachers and finding out you’re sitting next to someone you like in class; all those things inspired different levels of joy.

Oh, there’s anxiety, too. What if the new outfit isn’t cool (or your couldn’t afford a new outfit)? What if the friends from last year ditch you and don’t want to hang out anymore? What if everyone decides you’re just not cool? What if your teacher is an ogre and you get stuck next to the class bully or mean girl?

I’m surprised more kids don’t throw up from the nerves and the waves of emotions of the day.

Because I was a bookworm, I mostly was excited about school starting. The tough years were when I changed schools during the summer and had to start over with a new group of people. Being the fat kid with glasses who didn’t know anyone and who also happened to be smarter than most was not a recipe for success. And, that was in a kinder, gentler world. I can’t imagine how much tougher is now to try to fit in.

Fortunately, that starting over forced me to be outgoing because no one was going to seek me out. It reinforced my budding social butterfly tendencies and I haven’t looked back since. While there were a couple of years when we lived in Miami, AZ where the friends I had were marginal characters at best (I’d like to think we were like Freaks and Geeks but we were mostly relatively poor outcasts), I managed to develop some great friendships from grade school, high school and college.

I hope all of the kids going back to school make great friends, good choices and relax if that isn’t always the case. When you’re young, every little drama is the biggest crisis ever in the history of humankind. I wish there was a way to get them to see it’s not the end of the world and that the challenges they face will make them stronger.

Mostly, I hope they just enjoy the day.


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