Sunday, August 3, 2014

New experiences

I'm still not quite sure how and why we do school supply shopping this month. I've had kids in public school for five years now. You would think I could get used to it. Yet, I still don't. For instance, my kindergartener and second grader are each supposed to bring 12 glue sticks, multiple boxes of already sharpened pencils, multiple boxes of crayons, and an entire assortment of odds and ends otherwise. Meanwhile, my older kids have no actual lists so we fudge basic supplies for them and assume we'll hear any specific requirements for the Junior High and High Schoolers once school starts back. I just don't quite understand the point of all of the high quantity school supplies. I remember when I was a kid, we provided our own supplies, but it seems to me that perhaps the elementary teachers are simply pooling supplies and then distributing them to each student so no one gets left out. I am not entirely sure, and since I still feel like a public school newbie, I just do what I'm told.

So, school begins again this month and all of the children are excited. It's been a good summer, probably our best in several years, but the routine and structure of their school year is welcome for all of them. I've had to repeatedly tell certain children that in a family this size it doesn't really matter if they have an expectation of a new backpack because it's a new schoolyear. Show me a worn out backpack and I will replace it immediately. Otherwise, they will continue to use the same one the had before. We also don't buy a fully wardrobe of clothes. They each get one new outfit, but they all have so many clothes they can nether keep track nor properly care for all of them. The last thing I'm going to do is add more clothes to Mt. Laundry that never gets better already.

This year is quite a threshold of schooling and mothering for me. It is my oldest child's last year at home, his senior year. II is already placing bets with the boys at how much will mom cry this year, and ultimately at his graduation. Yes, I'm going to cry. I cry as A grows up. I never thought I was the crying type of mother, but I cry just the same. Just as big is that this is baby J's first year of school. My great, big boy who has a birthday late in the year and consequently misses the cut-off for the school year will actually be six shortly after school starts. He has been oh so excited and intent upon starting school for two years now, and this year it is his turn to head off into the great big world.

I don't know if my mother's heart can handle this one. Worst of all, I will miss their first day of school entirely. In fact, I will miss most of their first week of school. It occurs the same week as my mandatory, on campus orientation for my NP program. II is taking a vacation day to be here for their first day. For the rest of the week, he'll drop them off at school on his way to work and C will pick them up off the bus in the afternoons.

I'm telling myself it's just four days, but it still is sad for me. I have only ever had one other first day of kindergarten experience. L went to kindergarten but only lasted a month before her grief overwhelmed her and I had to pull her back to homeschooling. So my second and last experience will be lost, but I do have 13 more years to love on my baby boy beyond that week. It will have to be enough.

In the meantime, we continue to get everything gathered up. Four kids need haircuts. The teen boys still need their outfits. The baby boy needs underwear. Yes, he owns underwear, but he prefers to go without, so he needs an over-abundance so he has NO excuse to go to school commando. Baby boy has a kindermat for naptime. I need to find out if he's allowed to have a pillow or blanket or something, because that mat seems awful sterile by itself. L was required to have something small enough to fit into her backpack, but we also did not supply mats, because her school did half day kindergarten. I'm not aware of anyone locally that does half days, and since J is older than most kindregarteners, I'm find with his going full days. The child who wanted a new backpack has a perfectly good one, so was told no. J got onto Amazon and got his first backpack, a Mario brothers one, and his lunchbox, a Scooby-doo Mystery Machine one. Everyone needs to get new socks. It seems this house has a sock monster living in the washing machine and everyone claims to own no socks again, as they do every fall. Otherwise, just a few forgotten odds and ends left to secure and then they all go off to school for another year. I am hoping that with the security that we are not moving again, that these kids will settle into school this year and get back to thriving. They need that opportunity after the last three years.

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