Monday, August 18, 2008

Back to Back-to-School

It's here! The first day of a new school year. Okay, last Thursday was officially the first day here, but it's now sinking in, and I'm already loving it!

Earlier this morning, I blogged on the HAR blog about my fondest memory of my daughters' first day of school, when my then youngest Chelsea (#3) cried from disappointment when rain and flooding kept her from going to school that first day of kindergarten. Things have changed. We no longer have to drive fifteen miles (20 minutes) to school from our home on the farm. It's a quick less-than-ten-minute trip to school and back to take and bring the oldest granddaughter--now in first grade!--and on city streets, not muddy country roads.

I spent yesterday getting lined out for the year, cleaning my office and moving the baby's playpen where he takes his naps into my bedroom, giving him more floor room for crawling and climbing and playing. I like to keep him close by to be sure all is well. I can't say the office is still in the best of shape, but it's getting there, and I'll continue to do little by little, filing papers and sorting and tossing, probably until the end of time.

What I should have been doing is writing, or more correctly, editing, on a book due October 1. I'm excited about both books that will hopefully be coming out sometime next year. These stories were begun ten years ago and have gone through several incarnations during that time, searching for the right words and the right home. But this second, with the working title of Taming Kate, has always been one of my favorites, and I'm excited to finally know I'll be seeing it in print soon.

This year the oldest grandson will be starting pre-K, and I'm especially eager to see how he does. The two older girls are now in first grade and all-day kindergarten, and the younger of them will be riding the bus from home. It still means three trips of dropping off and picking up, but I should be used to that. We did that daily throughout the week each school year when my girls were little, until they were all finally in school full days. At least the trip to school and back is now much shorter! When I stop long enough to think about it, that was a long time ago, and they've all grown up to be wonderful young women, two of them with children of their own. How very blessed I am!

I've always loved the beginning of the school year. I especially remember the year, probably first grade, when I had a book bag, packed and ready at least a week before school started with new pencils and crayons. It wasn't a backpack like kids use now, but a satchel. Blue plaid, as I remember, with buckles and pockets and zippers. And new clothes to go with it! Each year, through fifth or sixth grade, my parents took movies (those old 8mm kind) of me walking down the porch steps and out to the car on the first day. Maybe soon I'll find those movies and watch them, laughing at the clumsy nine-year-old pigtailed and bespectacled girl, tripping (literally) down the steps while she carried the family daschund with her to climb into the big blue Chevy station wagon.

I always looked forward to that first day each year, not only the early years, but throughout all thirteen. There's something about school starting that was exciting. Maybe it was the promise of something new happening (boys!) and time spent all day with friends, in class, on the playground, and walking the halls between classes. I dont' remember that "learning" had all that much to do with it, but there was some of that, too. It was a time of freshness, of new beginnings, and it carried over even when my own girls had their first days and to now with the grandkids.

So today and for many days following, I'll have a smile on my face, remembering those special days, when being young meant the excitement of a new school year and the special times it promised. I hope my grandkids have the same happy memories, just as my daughters and I do.

Happy Back To School!

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