Aahhh, the first days of school. For us, it came August 15. For others, they’re just finishing up their first week back. I think some places might not start until next week. But the first day of school is still The First Day Of School, no matter when it falls on the calendar.
When I was a little kid, I would start getting excited in early August. I knew the first day of school was just a few weeks away and that meant several things for me:
1 – I would get new school supplies. I’ve always enjoyed new crayons, pencils, and notebooks. Even now, new office supplies makes my heart all a-twitter. In fact, just two days ago I got some new highlighters from Amazon. They’re so cool – one end is a highlighter and the other is a regular pen. There are even color-coordinated post-it flags in the little clippy deal that you hook on your pocket protector when you slip your spiffy new highlighter into your pocket. See? I’ve always been excited about this kind of stuff.
2 – I would get new school clothes. Fabulous! I loved going clothes shopping. It seemed like the trips often ended in me crying because. If I had been a boy, I would have probably shopped in the husky section. I don’t remember there being a husky section for girls, but I do remember not being able to get some of the clothes I really liked because April’s got a big ol’ butt, oh yeah. But I did love getting new clothes. Everything about it was wonderful – the smell, those little plastic things that hold on the tags, the possibility of being a fashion plate in my new clothes (at least in my own mind).
3 – I would get a new set of classmates. Unlike my kids’ school with only 2 classes in each grade, my elementary school had 6 classes. My graduating class had 164, so it was still a relatively small group of people, but the new arrangement of kids every year gave me hope. I hoped my best friend would be in my class. I hoped the boy I liked most would be in my class. I hoped the kid who picked his nose wouldn’t be in my class. I really hoped the farter wouldn’t be in my class. I hoped I would get the cool teacher. I hoped a mysterious new kid would be in my class and that we would be instant friends and that we would become sweethearts, get married, and live an exciting life happily-ever-after-the-end.
4 – I would get a new start. I was one of the smartest kids in my class and, like Hermione, I wasn’t afraid to speak up. I wasn’t bullied or ostracized or called “dork,” but I felt dorky. I hoped every year that somehow I would be magically transformed into the coolest kid in school. Now I realize that we were all dorks – what 11-year-old isn’t – but I felt alone in my dorkdom.
I had my 20th high school reunion this summer. I enjoyed hanging out with these people I shared 13 of my formative years with. I haven’t seen most of them in two decades. It felt nice. Comfortable. I discovered that some are still dorks, but now we all know how to deal with that in a socially gracious way. I’m happy that my friends were nice to me, dork that I still am.