The first day of school looked so different for us this year. It wasn’t just because of Covid and distance learning, but the fires all around our beautiful state of Oregon. I didn’t want to write about them because I didn’t want anyone thinking I was using that to get views, but that’s the reality of our situation. I also started writing this before their first day of school not knowing what that would be like.
The first day of school is usually a bittersweet day. The kids begrudgingly start another year of school, while I enjoy my first day away from them for months. Usually I spend it cleaning until there’s nothing left to do. Then I countdown the time untils I get to pick them up and see how their day went. Sometimes there’s tears on my part, other times I stay strong. I don’t care how many first days my kids have, sometimes it’s hard to watch them walk away to their first day of school, the first time ever, the second time, the tenth time, it never changes.
There’s a few things about the first day of school that are my absolute favorite. Getting first day of school pictures. Usually my daughter is dressed her best in whatever outfit she picked out ready for that picture with a big smile on her face and a sassy pose to match her personality. My son on the other hand stands begrudgingly at the door embarrassed that I still make him take first day of school pictures and I’m lucky to get one good one. Could I still get first day of school pictures? Yes, but they won’t be the same. They’ll be memorable though.
My second favorite thing is hearing about my kids first day of school. I literally countdown the time waiting for them to come home. How was your day? Did you make any new friends? Do you like your teachers? I want to know all the details from their first day. My daughter gets really excited and can’t wait to tell me everything. Every detail of her day is laid out perfectly and I know everything that happened. My son on the other hand, not so much. He’s a teenager, so I don’t get much out of him except a lot of shoulder shrugs and sure or yeah. I can still hear about their first day, but it’ll never be the same.
My third favorite thing is dropping them off at school. It’s always a bittersweet moment filled with tears. Not always tears, but a majority of the time I do cry, never them. Up until last year I was walking one of my kids to their class. Now they’re older and mom is too embarrassing for that. There’s nothing like walking your kid to their first day of school and watching them brave their new adventure, then leaving in tears knowing you’ll miss them. No matter how much I need that day to myself after spending all summer with them, I still miss them. This year my son starts high school and I was so ready to embarrass him like any good mom would. Watching him walk into his last school for the first time before he leaves to become an adult. It’ll go by so quick. Yes I’ll have this moment again, but it won’t be the same.
This year’s first day of school looked so different. It started off with us waking up late and missing the mornings zoom* meeting. My kids were attempting to figure out what all they needed to do for the day, while our new distance learning system wasn’t quite working yet. We had power and internet outages due to the fires all over Oregon. I was spending my morning running back and forth between rooms to see what they needed help with and watching the fires to see what friends and families would need to evacuate or who was safe. We also had friends here that evacuated from their house and took shelter here. It was hectic.
After the kids were all situated and we were able to make sure all tasks, homework, etc were done for the day, it was finally time to for picture. I really wanted the good perfect first day of school pictures like we get every year, but this year was different. This year we are distance learning from home as fires are currently being battled across our state. This isn’t like any other year. So I decided to take real pictures. My daughter changed into an outfit she picked out and did her cute little smile as she always does. My son wouldn’t put on a shirt and I didn’t even care because I caught a smile. He never smiles for pictures anymore. When the kids go back to school I will take ‘real’ first day of school pictures. This will do for now.
This years first day of school was unlike any other. It wasn’t just because of Covid and distance learning, but because the fires around us. I was mad that school wasn’t delayed due to everything going on, but also thankful for some sort of normalcy as we wait in the unknown. We’ve had many, many years of the same first days of school with pictures and tears. This year was definitely a unique one. All in all I’m glad I have this moment, a moment that will last forever. It’s not what we expected, but it’s what we got and we made the best of it. Until next time….
*Zoom is a meeting platform the school uses to connect it’s teachers with their students.