The last few weeks before school started were tiring. Kids were crabby. Sometimes they were bored. We were all climbing the walls. Family togetherness is overrated. It was time to return!
I took many pictures of the kids but wasn’t able to successfully get all three boys into one picture at the same time this year. Oh well, I tried. I made it a point to have the kids stand in front of the flower box full of wave petunias since many years the flowers have all dried up and died by this time of the year. And to think I only watered them twice all summer. It's a good thing we got a lot of rain.
I saw plenty of pictures on Facebook posted by moms who said they were wiping their tears as they watched their kids get on the bus. I read words from moms who admitted they were trying to hold it together as their child walked into school. Not me. I didn’t shed a tear the morning my boys went off to school, which maybe says more about me and the too-long-85-days-with-autism summer vacation.
Make no mistake, I love my boys! But let’s get real. I’d love for school to be year round with shorter, more frequent breaks. My boys agree. It would make life a lot easier.
Noah’s in 10th grade and has the luxury of walking to the high school this year. (And we have the luxury of not driving him!) This has come in handy when he needed to be at school by 6:15 am for band, or when he had All-State Choir audition rehearsals until 9:00 pm.
Noah had attended a week-long marching band camp earlier in August, which helped him meet peers and get somewhat acclimated to a new building and surroundings. He had also attended a brief orientation a few days before school started. He was eager to get back to the Bone Squad (AKA the trombone section) and dive into his classes.
He has a full schedule and is enrolled in early bird PE/health, so he’s at school most days by 7:00 am.
During the school-wide presentation to all sophomores on the first day of school, he had to chuckle to himself because the words “orientation” and “academics” were both misspelled. (He is my son.)
During one class icebreaker he had to make up two truths and a lie. He decided on these:
- I’ve seen many car accidents at the high school while looking out my living room window.
- I lost my hearing in one ear for a day, but nobody noticed.
- I go insane every summer.
The first day of school Noah had forgotten his schedule at home. It contained all of his teachers’ names, room numbers, locker number and combination, as well as the class periods and where he had to be when.
“Why didn’t you take that to school?” I asked.
“Why should I? I had it memorized," he said.
Only seven days in and he's participated in a car wash fundraiser for band, and he's selling Butter Braids to finance a choir trip in the spring. We're hoping we can win the lottery so we can donate a large sum of cash to these worthwhile causes instead of hounding our friends and family to pay $14 for a strawberry & cream cheese frozen pastry.
Best part of being back to school? Just being there and seeing people.
Best part about high school? Having choir and band every day.
Besides choir and band, what’s your favorite class so far? AP US History
How would you rate the year on a scale of 1-10? Better than expected so far – 9.3
Isaac wasn’t very happy about going back to school, even though that’s the place he ultimately wanted to be this fall. It’s a change, and any change in routine –whether good or bad – is anxiety-provoking for him.
“One more day!” he shouted, when we told him he had to start school Thursday.
“It’s okay, the same school bus will come again in the morning,” I said.
“One more day!” he said again, with his index finger in the air.
I was glad I could understand his words.
Did he really want one more day of vacation? Did he want to hang out at home, listening to K98.5 FM stream on the iPad while he did errands with me, unloaded the dishwasher, put laundry into the washing machine, bossed his brothers around, and went to the pool with his dad?
Yes, I think so.
Isaac was a bundle of nerves during the morning before his bus arrived. If you look closely, you can see the worry in his eyes.
Not much has changed, which is good because the agency which has provided respite to Isaac and our family for the past 12+ years is no longer providing respite to minors. Effective September 1, everything changes. He will have different respite providers and a new schedule, although that’s all in process, so nothing is certain quite yet. It’s more work for me as we get everything set up, but I think the change might be a blessing in disguise.
Isaac came home the first day and seemed tired, but he was full of joy. What a transformation from morning to afternoon!
Overview of the first day: “Isaac didn’t miss a beat. He was happy to be in school,” his teacher wrote in the communication log.
When Isaac got home, he jumped into his normal routine. As we do every Thursday, he sorted recycling into piles, loaded it into the van, and wanted me to leave the house at 4:19 pm.
Henry met his teacher during Backpack Night a few days before school started, so he was happy to have found his locker, dropped off supplies, and located his desk.
He was game to pose for pictures in the morning and was thrilled Chris, who stayed home later to see the boys get off to school, would drop him off at the elementary.
He was thrilled to have a new art teacher this year, who gets the attention of the students by saying, “1-2-3, mustache!” When he hears those words, he’s supposed to stop what he’s doing and put his finger above his lip.
I asked why she used the word “mustache” and he said, “She said it’s because we do not use that word very often in normal everyday conversation.”
He showed me some of the activities the class did to get their brains engaged again after a long summer. A math and spelling assessment would be done soon, he said.
Henry's eating lunch this year at 10:55 am. (Is this due to the overcrowding in his elementary school building? I’ve never heard of kids eating so early. He brings a snack for afternoon so he doesn’t starve by the time school dismisses at 3:45 pm.)
Henry’s playing the trombone again, so he leaves for band rehearsal twice a week by 7:00 am. He’s also auditioning for Opus Honor Choir, so he’s been busy with those rehearsals after school. This fall Henry is a member of the Bengals flag football team. His games start next week, and he’s thrilled!
Henry came home Friday with a packet for fundraising, but I haven't had the energy to look inside just yet.
What’s the best part about going back to school? Meeting friends.
Describe your teacher in two words. Nice and calm – but obviously that could change. It’s only the first day of school!
On a scale of 1-10, how would you rank your first day? Better than expected – 8.746
I didn’t cry when my kids went to school, but I cried after they came home. Did I miss them? A teeny tiny bit. But I cried because as they told funny stories about their school days, their eyes lit up. They were animated. They were happy. They seemed more alive than they had been in a few weeks.
It moved me to tears thinking about the transformation. Something as simple as being surrounded by peers and teachers and staff and a change in scenery helped to elevate their moods. Being back in a routine somehow makes life easier for everyone.
I’ve always loved school, both as a student and a parent. I'm happy my boys feel the same way. Back to school is the most wonderful time of year!