Back to School

My kids start school today. My oldest is forging semi-boldly into the undiscovered country of middle school, though the school has done a phenomenal job of trying to ease the transition. My younger two are at the same school, but with new teachers and a new principal. I’m excited for them all. I wish I were going with them.

I always loved the first day of school. The morning air is starting to get that fall chill. My backback is loaded with brand new school supplies (Tom Hanks’ line about a “bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils” didn’t just thrill Meg Ryan, I’ll admit), and I’m wearing new clothes. There’s that tinge of uncertainty about my new teacher, and whether or not any of my friends would be in my class, but that was also out-weighed by the excitement of a new classroom. “New!” was the rally-cry of the day. A chance to start fresh, with new things to learn.

I haven’t gone to school in a few years now, but I still get a hankering for a fresh start from time to time. Since I’m an adult with responsibilities I can’t just wipe the hard drive and reinstall the OS, so to speak, but I can certainly change the desktop wallpaper. At least once a year I totally rearrange the layout of my desk at work. Though my supportive wife tries to convince me it doesn’t need it, I have to clean the garage annually–sometimes more. And there are days I look at my wardrobe and, even though I usually don’t care that much about clothes, I wish I could throw it all out and start over.

These urges get stronger as autumn rolls in. It’s that ‘back-to-school’ mindset. In many ways my year doesn’t start in January, but in September.

I’m not sure if my kids see back-to-school in the same light I do, but they’re excited. I’m excited for them. That yearly ritual of facing the unknown framed in the familiar is part of growing up and learning to deal with a world that tends to throw curves on much less predictable terms.

I want to go back to school. With a big, brand-spankin’-new bottle of Elmers Glue, a box of fresh Ticonderoga #2’s, a Mead spiral in my favorite color, and a unblemished Pink Pearl eraser. Those, my dear Professor Snape, are the key components for that magical brew to “…bottle fame, brew glory, even put a stopper on death”.