Five First Days

It's no easy feat to prepare to send five children to school.  Note that I said "to prepare to send" not necessarily "to prepare five children".  They are either ready or not, and that doesn't really matter, because they're going.  The harder part for me is if I'M ready or not.  I can't honestly say that I was or am ready.  I remember when I was in school, people saying to me that time would just go faster and faster as I got older.  I wasn't prepared for it to go THIS fast.  Tim came home at the end of Wednesday night to find me in a state of secret anxiety.  Why?  Because my children were driving me crazy all day and yet I don't want them to go away from home for 9 hours a day for the next nine months!  I simply told him that since I am apparently mentally unstable, that it is his job to be the glue to hold our family together.  :)

I don't mean to say that the start of the school year is not exciting.  It is very exciting.  I just sometimes feel like I'm running a step behind the passing time and can't catch up.  I'm loosing my grip on my children's childhood.  INHALE...breathe...enjoy the moment...THE MOMENT. 

Now, beyond preparing myself to send five children to school, there is the tangible preparation.  School supplies purchased, labeled and packed for them all.  Since the school mailing came in July, I've been slowly and consistently purchasing the necessary supplies...on sale if at all possible.  I've purposefully waited until the last possible moment to label them so that they wouldn't become missing school supplies.  I had plenty of help emptying all of the bags onto the table and making orderly stacks, opening up packages, sharpening pencils and even double checking piles before packing backpacks.  In the end, we were only short a handful of things that had not yet been on sale.  Ugh...I had to pay full price!  LOL

Backpacks mended, washed and packed.  School uniforms sorted and dispersed.  (By the way, I LOVE school uniforms!  I could not imagine having to go shopping for school clothes--styles, prices, quantities...BLAH!  And, as was repeated a little inaccurately, "Mom likes uniforms because kids hated her."  The accurate version being, "because kids made fun of my clothes and it hurt my feelings when I was in school, and you don't have to worry about that, because everyone wears the same thing.")  New shoes, new socks, haircuts...I think we're ready.

Everyone gets a new pair of "school" shoes, even if they're not GOING to school. :)

I couldn't have asked for a better start to bedtime the night before the 1st day of school--everyone prepared for bed and went right to their rooms.  It was quiet for a good amount of time, but then the excitement prevailed, and the quiet turned to "party-level" noise that seemed to include some sort of acrobatics.  The quiet finally returned about 11 pm, but they were still all up and completely dressed by 6:30 the next morning.  (I wish that enthusiasm would continue beyond the first days!)  Prior to that, Benjamin had been wearing his uniform for three days!  Bedtime will become easier--well, earlier anyway as we get this new routine going always does.  I used to get worried about returning to an earlier school routine a couple of weeks before school began and soon realized that it all kind of takes care of itself.

Notice the khaki pants...junior high distinction!

Kindergarten, 1st grade, 3rd grade, 5th grade and 7th grade!  And at home?  Joe proudly informs everyone that he gets "homeschool" when they ask about preschool.  That starts Tuesday.  School is exciting, and change is great, and fall is wonderful and growing pains happen every day in some respect or another.  I cringed after I helped Benjamin and Mathilda both find their proper places at the start of the day among the bustling schoolmates and camera-carrying parents, and then realized that I hadn't kissed or hugged either one of them or sent them off with a "have a wonderful 1st day".  They won't remember, although I think I'll make note to teach my children to always remember to offer a goodbye kiss, because not doing so made me also remember that I didn't kiss my dad after he walked me down the aisle and put my hand into the hand of my husband-to-be.  I've always regreted that.  Just another something to add to my list...

Happy 1st day of school.  August 19, 2010.