My favorite Bob Seger song is Night Moves. My favorite line is “Strange how the night moves…with autumn closing in.” While I’m absolutely dreading that period of parenthood when I’m faced with the demonic specter of the girls dealing with “the awkward teenage blues,” that’s not what I’m talking about now.
It was almost cool today. Almost crisp this evening. And school starts tomorrow. So summer’s over. You can feel autumn closing in.
I’ve always liked this time of year. I think my trepidation of a new school year was tempered and possibly eclipsed by the fact that college and pro football were back. Regardless of the glorious arrival of Saturdays and Sundays filled with football, I always kinda hated that first part of the new school year. You haven’t figured out your routine. You haven’t figured out your teacher’s tendencies. Plus you could never get an accurate scouting report from the kids who had your teacher the previous year. Inevitably, you were told that your new teacher is a genetic mutation combining General Patton, a Tyrannosaurus Rex and Kathy Griffin. There were rumors about how your homework had to be shipped to your house because its sheer size and weight were so big that one time the school was cited by the feds for child servitude.
The worst part about the start of school, however, was transporting your school supplies from home to your desk on the first day.
First, they never fit into your bag. Which meant you either had to bring one of your Mom’s bags on the first day, have your sister, or worse – your Mom – help you bring them into school. Or somehow MacGyver them into your completely impractical 1970’s backpack.
In third grade I got my wish and had a back pack that looked like a real army pack. Olive drab and everything. It was awesome.
Until I loaded it up with my supplies. Back in August of ’78 they didn’t have the fancy-schmancy Jansport backpacks all the cool kids are using these days. My straps were made out of rusted barbed wire. There wasn’t any comfortable padding or cushioning anywhere in the whole pack. The only thing between your back and the sharp edge of your sweet KISS lunchbox was a thin layer of Korean War era canvas. Finally, and I remember this vividly, you’d have to trudge…slog…plod… with the straps cutting into your shoulders, tearing muscle from bone, all the way from the bus stop to home.
The girls, on the other hand, get to deliver their school supplies a day or two early. No first day cargo transport for them. We have an open house every year to meet their teachers, drop off supplies and find their rooms and lockers. We did this yesterday. The school jams it all into one hour so the place looked like Boston after the Red Sox won the ’04 Series. We had to park a short distance away and walk to the school. This meant the girls actually had to cart their school supplies on their backs. I chuckled to myself as they lugged their loads up the sidewalk. This of course lasted about as long Nancy Pelosi’s effort to drain those swamps she talked about right after the ‘06 election. Anyway, Mom turns around and smiles at the sight of me carrying not only Bailey’s backpack but Kinsey’s too. God bless Riley for taking care of her own business.
Anyway, we’ve decided we’re going to be prepared for this school year and the girls’ activities. We were so prepared we showed up a full week early for the start of gymnastics tonight. No big deal. We treated it as recon. We’ve also decided that Bailey isn’t wearing last year’s first day of school shirt to this year’s first day of school despite her fondness for it. It says “Super Sassy” on the front and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. So this year she’s wearing a shirt that says “Tea Party.” Just kidding. She’s wearing a Steelers shirt that says “Super Bowl Champs.” If we’re going to fulfill any prophecy, its going to be that one.
No, seriously, she’s not wearing that. I’m kidding. But not really…