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Fall, 2013 first day of school
August 19, 2013 - Stephen Browne
Today I got the kids up, dressed and off to their first day of the new school year. My son is in sixth grade, my daughter is in second.
In spite of a number of things being left for the last minute, it went off surprisingly well. There were things that had to be packed in their backpacks of course. Breakfast wasn’t a problem, the school very wisely serves one on the first day for the convenience of scatterbrained parents such as myself.
Since I’m a single dad, I get up at six, make my coffee and start planning my writing day. At seven I get the kids up, sometimes with a lot of difficulty, get them fed and get them out the door.
This year it was different. I’d been dropping them off at school on my way to work - a whole three blocks. Today they both insisted on riding their bikes.
I got the hint. They’d rather Daddy didn’t show up and embarrass them, so I waited until after class started to go to the office to pay tuition and let them know I’d be taking my children out of school early tomorrow. We have a young guest from Poland whose been staying the summer with us. She’s going home tomorrow via the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport and my children would like to say goodbye. My daughter adores her and I believe my son has a bit of a crush on her, from the way he studiously ignores her at home and expresses concern about the no-good boys swarming around her.
Sixth grade! I actually have fairly clear memories of sixth grade. It was in Newport, Rhode Island, my home until I left for Oklahoma when I graduated from high school. Second grade, I’m not sure I remember anything about second grade. Or rather, I have some memories but I’m not quite sure if it was second or third grade I remember. It was in Castro Valley, California. So I’m assuming my son will remember this school year fairly clearly, my daughter less so.
My son likes this school a great deal better than the school in our last home. He was bullied quite a bit there and isn’t bullied at all here. That may be because this is a better-run school, or it could have something to do with the fact he’s grown to be a moose.
My irrepressible daughter makes friends wherever she is. She’s intelligent, popular and it’s already obvious she’ll be beautiful. I’ve already reserved her place in Our Lady of Perpetual Incarceration Convent School.
Interestingly, my daughter loves math and is looking forward to it this year. I was never good at it (with the odd exception of statistics), and it gives my son headaches.
Before summer vacations I always think, “Gosh, when I don’t have all this school stuff to bother with, I’ll be able to get so much more done in the way of writing and studying.”
Nonsense of course. How much you get done in a day depends on how well-organized your life is, not how busy you are. If your life isn’t at least a little organized, you’re always busy. I do need some relatively quiet time to study difficult subjects (presently anatomy and physiology) but if you’re really a writer you should be able to write during a plane crash - while a passenger.
The fact is, if I have the discipline I may actually get more done during the school year since my children will have an earlier bed time.
That is, if I can enforce it.
Last night my daughter asked why she had to go to bed while I stayed up to shoot the bull with a friend. “Honey, you know little girls have bed times a lot earlier than daddies,” I told her.
She turned her nose up, and with an air of haughty disdain replied, “Well little girls don’t like that.”
So begins a new round of homework, after-school activities, Scouts and somehow finding the time to cook dinner. It’s good to be so busy. That way I can forget for a while how quickly the day is coming when my children will be grown and gone.
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