Back To School

Friday, September 7, 2018

This is a momentous occasion. My first ever blog post about going back to school, because for the first time since I was in school myself, my oldest baby is starting school! While I admit it is a bittersweet year for us because this means that our first little love is old enough to be in school (!!!) I have dreamed of this moment ever since I was a little girl. My whole life, I was always that child. You know the one…. school supplies meticulously organized and labeled, waiting perfectly in her backpack (weeks before school was to start, mind you). Outfits selected and neatly waiting to be worn. Stacks of books next to my bed forever and always. I loved school. I loved shopping for school supplies. I loved organization. And I still do love all of these things. So finally, eleven years after graduating from college myself, I finally have a legitimate reason to fall back in love with all things “back to school”.

Lorelai Mabel, first day of PreK

Some of you are probably thinking I’m crazy (you’re not wrong), but right now I am like a kid in a candy shop. Will this all lose its luster years from now when we’re still doing the same old song and dance this time of year for multiple kiddos and we’re busy and working and life is hectic…. maybe (probably not). But right now I am absolutely loving every detail. I get a mass email from the school district in the middle of the Target aisle and I squeal with delight. We go shopping for Lorelai’s school supplies and checking them off of her list filled me with pure joy. Attending preschool orientations, taking her school photo, meeting with her teachers, etc. etc. I could go on and on. Every detail has been long dreamed of and finally it is my reality.

Lorelai Mabel, School Photo, PreK

In preparation for our first year in the school system, we thoroughly prepared for everything we would need. Lorelai’s backpack has been hanging, waiting in her room all summer long. School supplies were thoughtfully purchased and labeled. She loved putting them all in her backpack the night before her first day. She picked all of her outfits for the first week and laid them out in her room. We picked snacks at the store for her to share with her classmates, something that the teacher has asked us to send twice a month. And we got some extras for the kids to enjoy once we get home; options that are healthy and easy to grab after our long days of learning and working.

Their favorite right now are the Dole Canned Pineapple Juices; they love picking out what straw they want to use because we have a big collection of colors and designs. Today it was beautiful outside so we enjoyed them on the front porch swing while Lorelai told us all about her school activities at the library and the drawing station and snack time. My heart could burst.

To keep us organized this year, there are few things I’ve set up in advance in our household. For one, we have a box designated for the drawings and artwork she brings home from school. So typically the newest ones are displayed on the fridge for a bit before we move them to the box and replace them with new ones. Lorelai does this all on her own, choosing which ones she wants to display, family portraits that she drew and Rapunzel in her tower, of course. I designated a pantry cabinet to her school snacks so that we have them on hand for sending to school to share with classmates, after school snacks, playdates, etc. and stocked it with a variety of Dole Canned Juices and Mixations fruit bowls so that we have healthy, tasty, convenient options to grab on the go. She has a hook in the mudroom where her backpack goes, so that we can hopefully keep track of everything coming and going. We’ve already had book orders (do you remember those Scholastic book pamplets??) and school apparel purchases, both of which delighted me to no end. Her teacher sent home photos of her classmates so that we could practice their names (she almost has them all down), and she has her first assignment due next week to fill a bag with 4 items significant to her. Lorelai is so, so, so in love with her school and every little detail reminding me each and every day just how alike we really are.

As a working mom it pains me that I am unable to drop and pick her up from school every day. But Brian and I are fortunate to have very flexible work schedules and we tag team it during the week between our work meetings and obligations. But Fridays…. Oooh, Fridays. I am usually off or maybe work just a bit from home on Fridays, soFriday’s are MY DAY. We wake up and enjoy breakfast, brew the coffee, make sure her backpack is ready, brush teeth and get dressed, all the usual things. Everett gets settled in the stroller and sometimes we take Louie along too. Her school mascot is a bulldog after all. My girl with her jean jacket, her pink backpack and her bright blonde, stringy curls lead the way as we walk the short block to her school. (If I say dream again here, is that too much?) We say our farewell to her as she excitedly greets her friends and teachers and kisses us goodbye. Everett watches after her and wishes he was going to. “Buh byyeeeee Lola.” But I make it up to him. We start our short stroll home, chatting with some neighbors and other parents along the way, and stop at the corner coffee shop/bakery across the street. He gets a blueberry muffin, I get a latte and we stroll home. There aren’t words to explain the giddiness that I have on Friday mornings. This seems like such an ordinary day, but to me it is everything. I read this quote the other day, it says “somewhere there is a past you overflowing with so much pride looking at how far you’re come.” And I felt it so deep in my bones to be true. I cried at the words. I have waited for this.. every part of it. For many years at the start of our marriage Brian and I struggled with infertility. We lost a child in the process and ached to be parents with every breath. And now we are here. Since we moved in together ten years ago, we have yearned to live in the neighborhood that I was raised in, for our future children to attend the elementary school I went to and frequent the corner store that I did. Walking distance to my parents home, parks, everything we could ever want. And now, we do. I don’t ever want to take these seemingly insignificant things for granted that we once so deeply longed for.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Dole Packaged Foods. All thoughts and opinions are my own.