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Monday, February 2, 2009

1st Day of School !

Today, is the first day of school for 2009.
Last year, I wrote a poem about this occasion (I'll include it at the end for those who are interested)
This year, the summer break has been extra short and all my literary juices are still dry.

The first day of school always evokes such a tumble of emotions.
Not least of which, is that fact that here in the Southern Hemisphere, our students have to buy and name all their own stationery. This is a phenomenon that I don’t recall happening when my boys were at school in the Great White North. Please correct me if my memory fails me. But for us here, the first day of school means that in the preceding days leading up to this event, someone (usually Mom-The-Super-Stationery-Hunter) gets to go searching through all the “Back to School” sales, buying up large on !B5’s, 1B8’s, 2E8’s, and all manner of alpha-numeric variations of stationery available….jotters, and mathbooks, pens, pencils, erasers, rulers, sharpeners, folders, clear files etc etc etc. In our family, Dad usually gets the job of wrapping the exercise books with duraseal. It was quickly established, that if you wanted your books not to have immense air bubbles and wonky edges, you’d get in quick and ask Dad to seal your book. Mum is much better at whittling pencils and naming them. And then comes the task of sorting out which articles of uniform no longer fit, and which articles have moved on to places unknown. I am grateful for all the uniform benefactors who have provided so generously for my boys! However, they are pleased that finally, the school’s Physical Ed uniforms have been changed, and they are entitled to ask for a new PE strip. That never ceases to bring out the emotion of ‘amazement’ in me…..”How MUCH did you say that cost??!!!!”

Today, my boys (one more so than the other) were very excited to be starting the new school year. I now have one boy beginning in Secondary School! Imagine that! I’m now officially old! And I still have one that is straddling the Junior and Middle School. To make me feel youngish! There is a sadness to realise they are growing so quickly. But there is joy to see them embrace their learning, and developing into wonderful young men. There is the excitement of wondering what the year will hold, and there is the nervousness of the unknown. There is the aching gap of friends who have moved on to other schools, and yet the anticipation of new friendships and alliances. And there is the lovely reconnection of familiar friends and faces.

And today, we think of our many friends who have moved to new schools. Our thoughts are with you. For you, there may not be the warmth and thrill of reconnection, but we wish you all the best as you enter into a whole new adventure. Yours is the excitement of a totally fresh beginning and new vistas.

And to the rest of the world….be gentle on the parents of school age kids!


Wild dreams of pencils, protractors, and pens,
Rulers and bags and crayons-in-10’s,
Felt tips in all their colourful array,
Swimming togs, sandals…….last minute dismay!

Books to be covered with contact and seal,
Clothes to be named from the head to the heel,
Jotters and refills, more glue sticks of course,
All fit in the school bag…with creative force!

Just when it looks like the bag’s gonna pop!
Everything comes to a breathtaking stop….
The nightmare is shredded by ear piercing squeals –
“Time to get up!” the alarm clock appeals.

You fling open eyelids, wipe sleep from your eyes,
Throw back the blankets and leap for the skies…
Who are you kidding! - You just curl up and hide…
Hoping the noise from your alarm will subside.

For today is The Day – the first day of school!
No more late brunches or trips to the pool;
No more wandering around in your cosy PJ’s;
No more sleep in’s or long lazy days.

No more leisurely reading of book after book;
No more fish on our line left to hook;
No more going for strolls in the park;
No more staying up late till well after dark.

No more break from the routine and drudge;
No more baking endless batches of fudge;
No more daydreaming as you lie in the sun;
Just timetabling, scheduling, places to run!

The first day of school…..it fills one with awe -
New teachers, new students, new carpet on floor.
We’re nervous, excited…the questions are there;
Will we be summonsed to the Principal’s lair?

Will there be bullies and will there be fights?
Will there be people who stand up for rights?
Will the work be too hard, or will it be fair?
Will there be someone who is willing to share?

Will the teachers be nice, or grumpy and tough?
Will we learn history, and division by half?
Will there be someone who’ll easily befriend?
Will it be long, till term comes to an end?

The excitement and chatter die down with the bell.
My heart skips a beat as my goodbyes I tell.
My eyes are all teary, as we part from each other
The first day of school is so hard… on The Mother!

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