So it’s the first day of school. Again. Smartmom and family have endured so many first days of school she’s lost count.
Oh the anxiety, the anticipation.
There was Teen Spirit’s first first day when he went to the 2-year-olds’ program at Beansprouts Nursery School in 1993.
The night before that first day, Smartmom tossed and turned all night. Why did he need to go to school? Shouldn’t he just stay home and bask in his parent’s love?
“He’s too young for school,” she cried to Hepcat.
He suggested they take him over to Beansprouts anyway — just to see. Teen Spirit enjoyed his day and they decided to keep him there.
And then there was Teen Spirit’s first day of elementary school.
What a milestone.
Smartmom still loves to look at that photo of her young family on that first day. Teen Spirit, dressed in a blue button-down shirt and shorts, was just 6. The Oh So Feisty One was 6-months-old and Smartmom and Hepcat were still in their 40s.
Smartmom remembers the fear in Teen Spirit’s eyes as he walked up Third Street that day. Like Smartmom, he didn’t know what to expect. What would the kids be like? Would his teacher be nice? Would the work be hard?
Her heart ached for him and she wished she could have stayed with him — forever. But he survived that first day.
And so did Smartmom.
And there were many more first days for Smartmom and her children to endure. Teen Spirit had anxiety-ridden first days at middle school, his first — and his second — high school.
So Wednesday was just another first day. But it was a first day with a difference; this was the first first day in 16 years that Teen Spirit doesn’t have a school to go to.
He’s still enrolled at Gap Year University, so Teen Spirit is not a student anymore. He’s got a job and is experiencing the world without school for the first time.
So while Teen Spirit slept in on Wednesday, Smartmom could tell that the Oh So Feisty One was nervous — and annoyed that her brother didn’t have to go to school.
“It’s not fair,” she told Smartmom.
She was also feeling side-swiped by the beginning of school. Like Smartmom, she wasn’t quite ready to give up the freedom and fun of summer. Like Smartmom, she wasn’t quite ready for the workload — and pressure of seventh grade, the year that really matters grade-wise for high school admissions.
OSFO made it clear that she didn’t want Smartmom and Hepcat to escort her to school on this first day. She planned to walk to school with Luvbud, dressed in the outfit she picked out on a shopping spree in San Francisco: a pretty purple mini-skirt, a white tank top, a cute grey cardigan from the Gap, adorable red ballet flats from Eric’s.
Her backpack was stuffed full of all the school supplies that she and Smartmom bought on Tuesday at Save on Fifth.
Smartmom said good-bye to OSFO at the front door. Hepcat ran out of the bedroom in his underwear.
“You’re going already?” he said to OSFO
But OSFO didn’t want any sentiment or ceremony — and absolutely no photographs.
This was just another first day of school. If she was anxious, she could handle it on her own, just like she would carry her big bag of tissue boxes and rolls of paper towels that were on the public school supply list.
Once she was out the door, Smartmom felt that familiar ache of emptiness when a child leaves the nest. But then she remembered Teen Spirit. It was time to wake him up.
He has to be at work at 11.