Celebrating ‘Back to School’

Tashia James//August 23, 2022

Celebrating ‘Back to School’

Tashia James//August 23, 2022

There are some days of the year that are just more special than others. My favorite day is right around the corner. I absolutely love the first day of school!

On the first day of school my neighborhood chimes with laughter, sighs of annoyance, and pleas of parents to, “Let me have one picture with you smiling” or “Can you please take a picture with your little sister?” Children are excited to see friends from school, to meet their new teachers, and a few are nervous to board the bus by themselves. There are tears from some younger siblings wondering why they can’t go too, and occasionally a tear will escape from a parents’ eye as their youngest heads to school for the first time.

I miss the days when The Boy did not want to let go of my hand as he headed into his classroom or when he would look over his shoulder for one more wave goodbye. He used to wait patiently while I took pictures, then he got to the age where he proclaimed, “You only get one picture, Mom!” Now The Boy only looks over his shoulder to see if he has escaped the annual early morning back-to-school photo.

The Boy and I played a fun game for a few years where he made it very difficult for me to take the “First Day of School” picture. It started in fifth grade when he rushed out of the house before I could walk him to the bus stop. I was completely caught by surprise, and only managed to get one shot of him running to meet his friends on the corner. By sixth grade I was better prepared and captured one picture of him looking over his shoulder with a sly smile. In 2020, we paused our game, since neither of us had anywhere to go. Our house was his school and my office.

After a year of social distancing, the beginning of the 2021 school year was truly special. He was excited and nervous to go back into a school building and see his classmates after nearly 16 months. The Boy actually allowed me to take “Back to School” pictures. He even volunteered to take a selfie with me (before becoming a surly teenager again!)

As the students waited together at the bus stop, several parents gathered to chat and wait for their children to board the bus. We all cheered when the bus arrived and captured pictures as the children boarded. We waved while the kids sunk deep into their seats with embarrassment.

Last year, I met friends for breakfast to celebrate the first day of school. We shared pictures and stories about the first-day early-morning rush. We laughed, expressed our concerns about the risks of our kids being exposed to Covid, and also shared relief that they were back in a classroom.

This year, my friends and I are planning to celebrate the first day of school! We will meet for breakfast and recount the details of our mornings. Instead of heading to work or home offices, we plan to enjoy the Lazy River at Hershey Park and our favorite rides.

Even though I expect a day of fun at the amusement park, I will be home to greet The Boy when he gets off of the bus. I am looking forward to hearing the sounds of students walking home and filling the neighborhood with shouts and laughter. Most of all I cannot wait to hear about The Boy’s first day of high school!