Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Back-to-School Redux

Okay, okay, after my "homesick for the home we never had" post the other day, I have to say that back-to-school time really is quite lovely. Yesterday we went to an open house at Fine Young Son No. 1's school and met his teacher and saw old friends, and Mr. "Do I have to go back to school?" was happy as a clam, making the rounds to see all of his old teachers, saying hey to everyone in sight.

As much as anything, I love the night before the first day of school. When I was a kid, I'd sort through all my new school supplies (how did I get them to school, I wonder--I didn't carry a backpack; no one did--a paper bag, maybe, since this was also pre-plastic bag?), lovingly sniffing the pencils, feeling rich in paper and pink erasers. And, ah, the thrill of a new lunch box! I had a purple Road Runner lunch box in the early years, graduating to a denim/vinyl tote thing around fourth grade, with a Peanuts lunch box thrown in there somewhere. My mom always put milk in my thermos (no Kool-Aid for moi), so my lunch boxes always acquired a sour smell by around week three.

Yesterday afternoon, I vacuumed FYS1's room--which he had supposedly picked up: ha!--and straightened up his desk, and generally made everything tidy for the big day. First day of school equals fresh start, in my book. In the kitchen, I washed out the Mystery Van lunch box and scrubbed the vinyl and even attempted to clean the cloth handle, which has gotten grubby over the years since first grade.

Then last night I made lunch. I am a "Do it the Night Before" kind of gal--lay out the clothes, take the shower, make the lunch. We are not a family of morning people, and it is best not to have too much to think about while the coffee is percolating. Making FYS1's lunch is usually the last chore of the day, as I almost always forget about it until right before I'm ready to go to bed. I can't put if off until morning, because I must have ample time for coffee drinking. So I sleepily make the tuna sandwich (he's allergic to nuts, so no peanut butter for him), wash off the grapes or cut up the apple, shove a couple of Oreos into a baggie. I do my best not to forget the snack.

Last night, of course, because it was the night before the first day of school, making lunch was a little celebration. I lovingly cut the tuna sandwich into triangles. I happily washed the grapes. I thought about throwing in an extra Oreo into the baggie, but then I remembered FYS1's dental bills.

This morning, FYS1 was up twenty minutes earlier than he needed to be and dressed before I got downstairs. This will never happen again--as early as tomorrow, I will be dragging his sluggish body out of bed and yelling at him that he'll lose computer time if he doesn't finish breakfast in two minutes. But this morning he was all enthusiasm.

Typically another mother in the carpool will be driving in the mornings, but this morning FYS1 asked me to take him, it being the first day of school and all, so I did. And when I dropped him off I said what I always say when I drop him off at school: "I love you, Daddy loves you, God loves you, and yes, even your little brother loves you."

And just like he always does, Fine Young Son No. 1 rolled his eyes and said, "See ya later, Mom."

And just like that, he was back to school.

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