Well, Middle School has officially begun. The back-to-school shopping for school supplies included the standard Sharpies, highlighters, folders, notecards and three ring binders. What has become part of our more recently celebrated return-to-school ritual is the decoration of lockers. Oh my! Gone are the days of the peeling, drab khaki-colored yellowed-tape-covered, banged-up minuscule lockers that were so narrow that your books wouldn’t lie flat. To describe them as less-than-memorable would be an understatement. Actually, did I have a locker? I think so. Did I go to it often? See, not that memorable!
These days, they are almost the size of a studio apartment with a loft. Oh, and those old Master Lock combination locks that we used to use if we were fortunate enough for our parents to spring for the extra $10.00???? Fugget about it!!!! So passe! Now, the built-in state-of-the-art locks take on-the-job training and a little extra finesse. So clever! It can’t be just any ordinary lock to protect those tomes that the kids are having to carry around these days! Oh no, one needs special security to guard the wall-papered, shag-carpeted, two-tiered space that is complete with a “crystal” chandelier (with a motion sensitive setting) that would have made even Leona Helmsley a little green with envy. After all, one never knows when one might need a little light in the deep recesses of the well-appointed book vault. During the last week prior to school starting, we visited that locker on four different occasions practicing and timing the ever tricky combination lock.
On the first day of school, my daughter woke to her alarm that she had set the night before and had intentionally moved across the room so as not to potentially fall back to sleep after shutting it off. She got dressed and came downstairs for breakfast. She was so excited! Woohoo! Big middle schooler! Surprisingly, given this bladder-eye’s history, I wasn’t feeling overly sentimental. I was excited for her! Her fourth grade teacher had her so well prepared that she was feeling very confident for her next stage.
We drove to school and had sweet conversation imagining what it would be like changing classes and being in the same school with some kids that had facial hair. It was all a relatively light exchange until we had to stop for a school bus. Standing at the corner was a lovely little family eagerly awaiting the door to open to help their smiling little blonde, curly-headed daughter climb on board. She was dressed with the same little Mary Janes and lacey socks that my little girl wore on her first day to school. The sendoff party included the dad, dressed for work in his crisp shirt and tie, the little brother enthusiastically waving goodbye to his sister, and the tearful mom taking pictures and trying to muster her best smile while waving and walking with the yellow-orange school bus until it turned and motored out of sight. Uh-oh! I just felt my throat clench! My daughter, who knows me way too well, said, “Mom, don’t cry.” I said, “Oh honey, it goes way too fast. It feels like yesterday when I had to blindly rush out of your pre-school so as not to have a public meltdown.” When we pulled to the drop-off curb of her school, she unceremoniously hopped out of the car and bounded into the building wearing the same size 8 shoe that I now wear. I, too, watched her in my rear view mirror until she motored her way out of sight. Sniff…Where has the time gone?