My kids started school this week. Okay, so it was just preschool and they only go for ½ a day two days a week, but for me it was still this big milestone in their lives.
The twins didn’t seem to give the idea of going to school to school a second thought. But then they have been going to some type of class (gym, art or music) by themselves for more than a year. And they even went to camp for three hours once a week this summer.
But even so, I got to thinking about the idea of the first day of school. I remember it being a big point of anxiety for me, but maybe that’s because I grew up a military brat who changed schools quite a bit. For me, the first day of school each year often meant a new school with new people. And as a child I was extraordinarily shy.
While I never remember separation anxiety – could be why my kids showed no signs of it – I do remember having butterflies in my stomach and dreading the thought of entering a school where everyone already had their friends established.
But I made it through it. And apparently my kids did too. They are lucky in that they got to share this experience with each other.
I remember my first day of school. I didn’t go to preschool. My first day was for kindergarten and I had to ride the bus – a really big deal when you are smaller (and younger) than all the other “more experienced” school kids.
I remember standing at the bus stop with my mom waiting for the bus to arrive. She was telling me how to remember my bus stop so that I could get off in the afternoon. My bus stop was at the corner of a baseball field. I was to look for the backstop to know when to get off the bus.
I don’t remember much about that day at school, but I remember the bus ride home. I sat diligently at the window looking for that backstop. The idea of missing my bus stop scared me silly.
Then I saw it – the backstop. I didn’t expect it so soon. But I got up and got off the bus. The bus pulled away just as I realized my mom wasn’t there. Now what do I do.
I’m five. I’m not allowed to cross a street by myself and here I am at the wrong bus stop. Who do I go to for help?
While I’m internalizing all this information, the bus has gone on to my correct bus stop a block away. My mom realized I wasn’t on the bus and realized (I don’t know if another parent or some kids told her) that the previous bus stop also had a baseball field. And before I know it my mom was there to meet me.
The next day, the parents tied some kind of ribbon to the backstop at my bus stop and I never got off at the wrong bus stop again.
It amazes me that after all these years (really, it hasn’t been that many), that that bus stop tidbit is what I remember about my first day at school.
It wasn’t what outfit I wore or who I met or – God forbid – what I learned that day that stood out. It was the bus ride.
I wonder what my kids will remember about their first day. They didn’t ride a bus so that can’t be it. But I’d love to know what they remember 20 or 30 years from now.
What do you remember from your first day of school?