Chris Hutchins

Remember the good days?

Some things are meant to be remembered. Some things are better left in the dusty past. School starting this week has me feeling sentimental. For kids, that first day back marks the end of summer and the beginning of a new chapter of learning, both academically and socially. For parents, that first day ushers in a new year of “parent taxi service.” School can take a little bit of a load off the parents in some ways, but it can add to the myriad chores and errands that we must complete, participate in, or supervise.

I could devote the rest of this article to the volume of homework and “newsletters” we must wade through during the school year but instead I think it’d be easiest to quantify by weight rather than content. I estimate that we received roughly 30 pounds of such documents last year.

My favorite novel weighs about three-fourths of a pound. My Bible is about a pound. Each week there is a plethora of reading material, pointers, tips, advice and references to books or websites that will allow parents to “do more.” I never dreamed that when my kids went to school I would virtually go with them but that’s how it seems. As an extra degree of difficulty, my children are a bit cantankerous, strong willed and high spirited. In other words; they’re nearly impossible to work with.

My teenager won’t tell you anything until three minutes before situation critical, and my elementary school child truly dislikes school so much, she spontaneously declares “I don’t like school.” Seriously, even when there is no mention of school for days, she makes this statement. I call it persistent educational disinclination, or stubborn ignorance.

I’m sure I’ll write more about that later, for now, let’s remember the good times, the moments Norman Rockwell would have portrayed, the things that are meant to be remembered.

Remember your first day of school? Did your mom fix your hair, or your shirt? Did a family member help you with your laces or your buckles? Did you take a lunch, perhaps in a brown bag? I remember some of these moments. I remember walking with an older sibling on my first day and being scared to death by the stories and warnings she uttered.

I don’t think I ever went to the second hall bathroom because of one of those warnings although I can’t remember what that warning included. You may remember having your picture taken on the first day of school. It’s more fun to think about the times you got your own little munchkins ready for their big day. Did you fix their hair? Pack their lunch? I’m sure you did a great job getting the kids ready, probably while getting yourself ready too, and maybe you still managed to get that shot for Facebook because you are amazing. Or, maybe you just barely got the kids out the door on time and forgot to get that shot. Don’t worry, it’s not a big deal, but go ahead and take one this Monday, you might enjoy looking at it later.

Here’s what I remember: My corduroys were making a fantastic “vrubb vrubb” sound with each step, my Thom McAns were brown, and I had a coat hook and a little cubby to put my stuff in.

My teacher had coffee breath, the cafeteria smelled like Fruity Pebbles gone bad and I remember a cute little girl with long blonde hair. I traded jackets with her later that year – and got lice. Some things are meant to be remembered, some things are not.