On my daughter’s first day of third grade, I acquired two blisters – one on the inside of my thumb, and one beween the knuckles of my index finger.
Why? Because we had a really full, super jam-packed summer.
There were lake vacations, riptide warnings, insufferable heat, ice cream (always ice cream), inflateable swimming rings for calmer days, late nights, campfires, poison ivy, tents on the beach, and long swims in deep chilly water. There was Camp Grandma. There were visitors and day trips and vacation days and good health and aunties and cousins and uncles and grandparents and friends and summer math and books devoured and magic interrupted and pride in abundance and sister-love – and boxes and boxes and boxes of belongings we sold, gave away, unpacked or packed.
Full. Full and good.
We practiced bike riding and table manners. We giggled through games of pretend, and sometime in mid-July, my daughter and I found ourselves roaming the fully-stocked aisles of Target to get a jump start on school supply shopping. Because we could. Because we must. We checked-off notebooks and folders, pencils and erasable pens, each item on the list passing two tests . . . painstakingly:
Have you ever wandered the fully-stocked school supply aisles at Target in July with a pensive yet opinionated eight-year-old girl, perusing a list of items expected to carry her through the next nine months of life? Imagine this just for a moment. If you dare. Eventually, we emerged with an Ugly lunch bag, sparkly notebooks and a box of pencils, swiftly and snugly tucked into a new monster backpack.
Fast-forward five weeks.
“Did we buy sharpened or unsharpened pencils?” I finally asked my family, the night before the first day of school.
“Sharpened,” my partner answered with an assurance I have not yet learned to question.
“Great!” I exclaimed. And no one said another thing.
But the morning of the first day of school, twenty minutes before we were meant to leave – after each of us woke early from sleep, zipping through morning routines with a speed I don’t anticipate repeating until year’s end, after remembering to pile into the backpack those old-but-clean socks our daughter will need to wipe out 3rd grade dry-erase mistakes – when curiosity got the better of me, I opened the box of 48 pencils required by our local elementary school for each student and they were not sharp. (No, let’s not even talk about how I read the list without my new reading glasses back in July and learned only after school had begun that, in fact, only 26 pencils and not 48 were required: 24 for the classroom and on the next line – 2 for art.)
Which is how I got blisters on the first day of school.
Has school started yet for the kids in your life? How was YOUR first day?