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.
photo 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.
photo by Stacey Vukelj
photo by Erica Montgomery
photo by Bonnie Hussey
photo 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 by Jennifer Bogle
photo by Melissa Hines
Photo 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.
photo by Alison Myers
photo by Jamie Montalto
photo by Leah Brewer
photo 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.
photo by Sarah Hodges
photo 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.