Tuesday, September 04, 2007

By my calculations, I'd be in 22nd grade this fall. (But don't trust my calculations, I didn't make it through college.)

In the same way that Christmas and Halloween have become less about me and more about the experience I create for my children, The First Day of School has been a spectator sport. I get to channel my inner geek with a romantic stroll down the school supply aisle, where, in my imagination, protracters and glue sticks follow me like I'm Snow White, where I am serenaded by the pencil sharpener that just flew by and landed on my shoulder.

Happy First Day of second grade to Madelynn!
In the grand tradition of Maddy, me, and first days of school, I fought back tears after I waved goodbye and walked out to the car. She was excited to go this year, fully because she had been suffering a mean case of withdrawal from those three months without Monkey Bars. She worried all summer about second grade, but I don't worry about her. Madelynn may be shy at first, but people adore her. (And even if they don't, she doesn't really give a shit. Sweet.)

She sat at her desk, hands folded, and looked like she was afraid it was going to swallow her up. I watched her through the big classroom window for a few minutes while I was chatting with the other Moms, and I saw her straighten her pencil box in the center of her desk, and then move it to the side, and then the middle again. And then I noticed that even though I got the exact pencil box the teacher specified, most of the other kids had a different brand. Knowing this as I walked back to my car burdened me with some bizarre surrogate social anxiety. Is that weird?

Speaking of surrogacy, I emailed the four girls I know who are still in high school, and asked how their first days went. And then I begged them to tell me what they wore, because that's pretty much what the first day of school is really all about. My daughter has to wear a uniform, which, although a godsend on every other day of the year, kinda takes all the fun out of the first day. I reconciled myself with this by harassing my sister and her friends to tell me what they wore... and by reminding myself that there is Free Dress on Picture Day.

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