At the Onset of a New School Year

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My husband commented last night that our “new year” is not marked by January 1st, even with all of its fanfare and resolutions for change. Our new year revolves around the school year and the change from one grade to the next. New teachers. New routine. New homework expectations. New relationships with classmates.

On the very last day of summer break, it rained. Rather than have kids complain all day about “what can we dooooooo?” I sent the soon-to-be 4th grader and soon-to-be 2nd grader on missions to clean their rooms. Clear their desks from summer projects in preparation for the school-issued Chromebooks that would be coming home the next day.

For me, the day was a constant rotation of laundry, making sure that everything possible was clean. Too-small clothes were removed from drawers. Backpacks and snack bags were washed.

I have a small shelf in the living room with three pull-out drawers. School papers not requiring some type of attention immediately go in here, and I had not cleaned it out from the end of the last school year. I sorted. Interesting art projects I took a photo of, then tossed. Saved a few samples of homework assignments with teacher feedback for their special boxes. Tossed.

Found a pair of headphones for the 2nd grader that are a requirement for the school supply kits — AFTER determining that they had been lost and ordering a replacement pair from Amazon….

Because I was on a roll at that point, I went ahead and cleaned out the fridge, making sure that all school lunch supplies were easily accessible.

The 2nd grader’s face appeared bright and early this morning, while the 4th grader moseyed upstairs at 7:15. Both were wearing their favorite t-shirts. After breakfast, they went outside to play, a last hurrah to their summer routine where they would be outside until they left for camp. Once the school year kicks into gear, the morning time is reserved for homework.

My routine changed as well. During the summer, I leave in the morning to drop the toddler off at day care, as it got me home earlier to start my workday versus camp drop off. During the school year, we switch and my husband does the day care drop off so that I can make school lunches and lightly supervise homework.

Sandwiches made. Snack bags packed. Water bottles filled. When my oldest son entered kindergarten, I ordered some of those cute lunch box notes on Etsy, but quickly realized I wasn’t the type of mom that put notes in lunch boxes every day. But I did save the notes and manage to put them in their boxes on the first day of school. At this rate, I’ll have plenty of notes to last through high school graduation.

Set the alarm on our primary Alexa device in the kitchen to go off at 8:15 each school day morning, 8:25 on Wednesdays when they have a late-start day.

Beds made, teeth brushed, hair combed.

Obligatory photos by the front door of the house and then we waited for the bus. I told them that I would walk them out to the bus stop for the first week of school, but after that they are on their own. There is some construction on the sidewalk and a large truck blocked the corner so we were debating where to stand so the bus could find us. But the truck pulled away.

Last year, the bus was at least 10 minutes late on the first day. But this year, the bus pulled up right on time, with a new driver smiling earnestly at the kids. They boarded the bus quickly.

And they were off. The new year has begun.

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