Back to School

Remember this time of year when you were a kid?

These days it means something different to me and a bunch of my friends.  For me, it means the weather is going to change, Christmas is coming and I’m still not living in the Caribbean.  For some of my friends it means going to the mall, where is the money going to come from and days getting longer with extracurricular activities before and after school.

The first day of school came and pictures were taken and away we went on the bus, hoping for the best.  The pictures got developed six months down the road, maybe even longer, and your first day of school picture was mixed in with pictures from a wedding, a tree getting cut down, something on fire and 10 pictures of people at the family reunion you couldn’t remember because the film had been in the camera for so long.

Now the picture gets taken and immediately it’s shared with hundreds of people on some social media site who comment and ohhh and ahhh over how big the kids are and how cute they are.  And then it happens, you see that one picture, oh yeah, you know the one, where the proud parent posts the picture of their kid and you scroll down to take a look and almost pee your pants from sheer terror.

There are several reasons I didn’t have children, one clearly being I would have been blessed with an ugly, mean and very unruly child, karma stings sometimes.  The kicker is I would have known my child was a menace, I would not have sugar-coated it.  I saw a picture this week of a young child who frightened me so terribly I had to call someone.  Someone who actually knew this child and would also tell the truth.  I outright asked if we should worry about the other children on the bus or if there were any younger siblings to worry about.    I didn’t dare look into the child’s eyes even in the picture for fear my soul would have been sucked out.  I looked away very quickly.  Some photos are never meant to be shared.

I also saw a few pictures where I would have liked to post a comment along the lines of “are they going to school or a pajama party?” or “did he borrow your pants?” or “what brand of pork chop did you use to comb their hair?”  Kids nowadays I tell ya.  I am still convinced even the 80’s  fads were better than what’s going on now.

I’m glad we didn’t have social media back then, one first day picture and one school picture were humiliating enough for me for the year.  Sometimes we’d even throw in a family picture now and then, that usually happened the day after I cut my own bangs with a Fiskers.

Because I was from a small town there were never a whole bunch of new kids to meet, I didn’t worry about not knowing anyone, nervous about where to sit on the bus or who  to sit with at lunch.  Not until week two or three anyway, that’s about the time the bickering and fighting started within the little clicks.  It would last for a few days and then go away and cycle back again.  Some people wish for those days back, I DO NOT.  I would dare to bet that still happens.

The part that’s different now I noticed is the school supplies.  Now a list is sent to you on what your kid should have on the first day.  A certain kind of pencil, certain types of folders, a particular notebook, etc.  Well, really?  I’m certain my parents did not get a list of stuff we needed and we certainly didn’t have a community pool of stuff that everyone pulled from.  I had to beg, borrow and steal if I forgot to bring a pencil on the first day.  Lots of schools have ‘community supplies’ so everyone has the same things and enough for the entire year.  Sharing?  Who would have thought?

What happened to the Scott Baio or Michael Jackson folders though?  With Mrs. Scott Baio scribbled all over the outside?  Now, I’m not saying I had Scott Baio folders, it was just an example.  I’m sure you know what I’m saying here, there was always some teen idol we were thinking we’d marry some day….or a guy a couple of years older than us.  One of my friends and I always had a crush on a couple of brothers 6 and 7 years older than we were, oh so young and naïve.  Those were the names you wrote on the inside of your folder because you thought no one would see them there.  Everyone still saw them, kids are nosey…..and ruthless.

I look longingly as I pass schools now, refraining from stopping to tell them that their school years don’t define them and that their whole life happens after that, those are just starter years to get them in the groove.

Now back to snickering at more first day pictures…….