Time for school!

picture of a young boy superman backpack looking at school bus by melissa hines

School is back in session around these parts. The distant memory of routine is coming back into focus. School lunches are getting packed last minute, water bottles are leaking and, in this house, there are tears.

We moved to a town where people know each other’s names but not ours yet. For my fifth grader, Eli, the transition has been rocky. My husband Joe and I waver between being sympathetic and frustrated. Starting new is a hard thing whether it’s a school now or a job later. Fresh starts happen, have happened and will happen for Eli and for all of us. They suck and they’re awesome. Both are true.

image of faceless boy with school supplies by Mindy Sauvageauphoto by Mindy Sauvageau

Last night as we reminded him of all his past successes in starting schools and teams he went straight global and began to mourn all the horrendous starts that are ahead to include the awful one he’s in RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND. Without any warning, I launched into lecture mode. You have shelter! You have clothes! You play whatever sport you want! You are so loved! Hungry? Do you want white or orange macaroni and cheese? Your life is more than good. Yes, this is hard but you can do hard things.

picture of young boy holding sister hand walking to school new york city by stacey vukeljphoto by Stacey Vukelj

photo of four young boys walking in street to school by erica montgomeryphoto by Erica Montgomery

image of boy giving thumbs up as he gets on school bus by Bonnie Husseyphoto by Bonnie Hussey

photo fo young girl on road school bus approaching by sherri davisphoto by Sherri Davis

Obviously, it wasn’t effective but we hugged it out and went our separate ways. This morning on the kitchen counter was a Ziploc bag with $1.37 inside. My other son, Henry, who must have been listening to my lecture from another room, had written, “please give this to charity.” Perhaps I was a little heavy-handed. These transitions bring out the wild and wooly in all of us.

photo of big brother giving little sister a hug before school by jennifer boglephoto by Jennifer Bogle

picture of a young boy superman backpack looking at school bus by melissa hinesphoto by Melissa Hines 

picture of girl in school uniform jumping joy in rain by kate t parkerPhoto by Kate T. Parker

I don’t want to solve this problem for him yet I want to solve this problem for him. So I wrote to his teacher and gave her a heads up that things were hard as nonchalantly as I could muster. I checked my email obsessively until she wrote back saying that she’d moved his seat so he could be with “some friendly boys”. She followed up that email with another one asking me if I knew it was a half day because she knows we’re new to the school. I did know but I appreciated each email immeasurably.

picture of mother hugging daughter on first day of school by alison myersphoto by Alison Myers

photo of young boy hiding face in classroom by jamie montaltophoto by Jamie Montalto

imagoe of young girl in classroom by leah brewerphoto by Leah Brewer

photo of girl running open arms to car pick up line school by jennifer nobrigaphoto by Jennifer Nobriga

At pick up, Eli wasn’t crying. He said only, “My teacher moved my seat and one of the boys loves baseball.”

To all of you and yours who are tackling new school years or beginnings in general, you can do this. Maybe not perfectly but perfect is boring.

picture of boy with ball and sister homeschool in background by sarah hodgesphoto by Sarah Hodges

image of two kids painting caves homeschool by liz behmphoto by Liz Behm

Thank you to all the photographers who shared their first days of schoolschool and homeschool for all of us to enjoy. Carry on.

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