It's 1993. My first daughter is starting all day kindergarten. It's so exciting yet nerve-wracking. My little baby has grown up so fast! We whip out the video camera, follow her every step to the bus stop and watch her and her little backpack get on and ride away. I'm in shock as she drives off as I can't figure out how five years flew by.
It's 2012. Each year since 1993 I have gone through all the motions of getting my two girls back to school. It's always been something that we all loved to do. Sure, we were always a little melancholy that summer was ending but there was the whole getting ready to go back thing that we loved.
Put me in an office supply store and I am like an addict. I love special pens, the smell of a fresh sheet of paper. A new box of sharpened crayons; those number two pencils that we bought by the dozen. Couldn't wait to sharpen them to a fine point. The girls couldn't wait to go through the whole checklist. The backpacks, oh the backpacks. I could have opened a resale store of only those by the time this year rolled around.
Then there was the back to school clothes shopping. Of course having girls, that was their favorite part. Over the years we progressed from The Children's Place to Limited Too. Then from Abercrombie and Hollister to boutiques where the average pair of blue jeans was a cool $150-$200. I liked Limited Too better when we could use all the "too bucks" we had accumulated and get a huge discount. As they grew the price tags did as well.
As August neared it's end, the weather started to change. It got dark earlier and earlier and they weren't outside at 9pm with pink skies. The bed time battle would begin as we knew the adjustment to getting up early was going to be tough. (Not only for them but for me too!) And each year the day came. The first day of school. It signaled the end of summer, which for our family was always sad. We always had a "summer vacation". We did so much together the separation was hard.
The change of weather always brought bees. We'd stand at the bus stop and swat and dive until the bus arrived. I loved those days. On mornings when the temperatures dropped I would drive them 1/2 block to the bus stop so they wouldn't get cold. We'd sit in the car and tell jokes with the neighbor kids that sat in there with us to keep warm.
Once the college years began the end of summer was marked by one or both of the girls leaving home. They both attended out of state schools and my husband and I dreaded their leaving. Call us crazy but we'd be happy if our kids never left. Ever.
Now as this summer is coming to a close, I keep feeling as though I have a lot to do. Aren't there books to buy? Tuition to pay? Supplies to get ready? Clothes to buy and pack? I am supposed to have that back to school anxiety but for the first time in 19 years, everyone is done.
The girls have graduated and both are working full time. For the first time in not 19 but 24 years, we had no summer vacation. We kind of had no summer. I know, whine whine. Many people don't have that luxury but that's how we have lived; and that was very precious, special time to all of us. We are all adjusting.
Now as I walk through stores and see the back to school signs and sales, I can only recall those 19 times that I participated. There are other things to look forward to now as I am enjoying the girls not leaving for school and being home! I'm enjoying the extra dollars in our pockets from no more tuition, no more books, no more supplies. I am still enjoying the season as I see the little kids in the neighborhood waiting for the bus. It tickles me to wonder how long it took their moms to wake them up.
And how many back packs they have.