Monday, August 23, 2010

First Day of School

This is a representative picture of one of my children, taken on his first day of school. I'm not identifying which child it is because frankly, they all look alike. (Oh, stop. I do, too, know which one it is; I just forgot for a few minutes.)

We started taking ceremonial pictures the first day of Boy#1's preschool, which means we have a couple dozen shots of kidlets lined up on the front steps with their summer tans and new backpacks. They are the photographic embodiment of unexplored possibility. Who will have the next desk? Will the teacher be nice?

The boys look so scrubbed and beautiful that I forget that the first day of school also was fraught with nervous tension. Do they have all the school supplies? Is each and every one of the 48-packs of crayons marked with the kid's name? Where is that fourth box of Kleenexes?

As the years went on the first day of school pictures took on less weight. The first year a high school kid got to sleep in one more day before his classes started, we crept up the stairs and gathered around his bed to make sure he was included as part of the first day. He did not find it particularly amusing.

By the time we had teenagers my cheery call of "Let's get a picture!" was likely to kick off a chain reaction of eyerolling. Granted, this is the default reaction of teenagers, and my cheery call was more along the lines of "Line up here, right now, and smile, and STOP DOING THAT, WE ARE LATE, " but childbirth amnesia mercifully extends to first days of school.

Today is the first day of school at the two universities where all four will be in class. For the law student and the freshman, this is a full day of newness. Where is that building? Will the teacher be nice? Who will have the next desk?

Someone, please, take a picture.

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