Dorothy Harris

Back to school blasé

“Okay, tell me what you’re feeling so I can hijack it for my column this week.” Her answer was unintelligible.

“How do I spell that,” I questioned. “Is it e-h-h, p-f-f-t, or n-u-h?” “It’s m-e-f, mef,” corrected her handsome guy, adding a shoulder lift for emphasis.

Now I understood what I’d been hearing. Whether I asked a student, a teacher or support staff member, most responded with this same sound and shrug. No one seems excited for the busy year to begin. “I’m surprised,” I told the kids, “I was always so happy for the first day of school.”

“That’s because you were a nerd,” my delightful child retorted.

She is close to correct because even decades later, I still get excited to sign up for a class, crack open a brand new book or tear into new office supplies. Perhaps it’s the writer in me, but I look forward to learning. This delightful anticipation seems not to be shared.

The reason no one else is excited seems directly linked to schedules and the end to unstructured mornings and weekends, which anyone can appreciate. I admit realizing those 4:30 a.m. cross country mornings rapidly approaching gave me pause. Mentioning them to Mr. Harris may have given him indigestion.

Once we get into the routine of sports travel, it’s not a bad thing. Of course forget trying to have an intelligent conversation with us following a meet morning. These super early departures and all day exposure to heat and sun leave us in a peculiar time warp where we desperately wait for the sun to sink and bid us good night.

Until we can sleep, Mr. Harris plays video games, badly; while I re-read the same three pages of my book over and over. By the time we get used to this up-and-at-em routine, the season is over and we’re on to track, where we switch to meets beginning right after school and lasting late into evening.

Thinking about homework, sports, church activities and regular life all commencing within a week’s time frame can’t help but feel overwhelming. No wonder nobody’s really excited. Funny thing is, once the ball gets rolling, it’s a different story.

In addition to sports there will be homecoming and special trips bringing excitement. I’ve been told senior year goes by in an expensive blip and I think we’re ready, but perhaps you’re on the other end of the spectrum?

A co-worker attended her first boo-hoo breakfast as her young son entered kindergarten. This unique and delightful idea was hatched by her school’s administration, not for the kids, but for the parents to help them make the transition. Another friend had to race from one open house to another, attempting to meet all her staggered-aged children’s teachers, on the same day. Figuring out how to get who, where, and by what time, can make moms feel like air traffic controllers. As you plan and prepare, moan and groan, don’t forget to say a few prayers.

Stop for a few quiet moments to thoughtfully pray for your kids and their future, their teachers, who are just regular people doing something extraordinary every day, and the administration overseeing it all. Pray for endurance and wisdom for the coming year.

The busy time is upon us again, so grab your keys, gulp that coffee, watch your speed in school zones and make a commitment to be kind in those car lines. After all, you’re going to be seeing these folks every day for the next year. May it be a good one.