What The First Week of School Has Taught Us


Starting at day one might be getting ahead of myself.  We need to rewind to the week before the first week of school.  The day I temporarily forgot who I was married to, and decided it a brilliant idea for the whole family to go together for back to school shopping.  The expressions on my girls’ faces said it all when they learned their father would be joining us.  Eyes glazed over in fear, “Ummmm, hold up, Daddy is going?”

In my defense, one requires a masters degree in “Back to School Supplies” in order to decode these lists, so I figured an extra set of hands would be invaluable as I fought my way down the school supply aisle at Target with 4,000 other mothers.  In hindsight, this was arguably the worst decision I have made in the last 5 years.  He started before we had left our driveway, “Listen to me girls, we are not buying anything we don’t need.  If they have an option of notebooks, and one is solid blue for 50 cents and another has princesses all over the front for $1, we are getting the solid blue for 50 cents.”

First of all, where has he been for the past 6 years?  We have a daughter entering middle school, and he thinks she is going to be selecting princess covered notebooks?  Seriously?  Ella would sooner have an arm amputated before she would seek to purchase and then carry into middle school a princess notebook.  Second of all, are we living in the 50’s?  Does he really think notebooks are going to cost 50 cents?

I spent the next two hours feeling like a hostage negotiator.  I stood between Kev and the girls negotiating why they should be allowed to have the “zig zag notebook” (what the man calls the chevron pattern), instead of the boring blue one.  They would bring me their list of school supply demands, and I would negotiate the best deal I could get from Kev.  He would rant unrealistic expectations about “being practical”, there were tears and gnashing of teeth, there was secret stashing of pencils under notebooks hoping he wouldn’t see them in the cart because he had already declared, “No one gets new pencils or crayons, we have plenty you can scrounge up around the house.”

We passed on the A-Z file cards for Language Arts.  I couldn’t negotiate those into the package for Ella, and Kev was confident we had them at home.  Ummmm, no we didn’t.  I drove to 4 stores searching for them the day before school, all out of stock.  And I’m just sayin’, when you have an intense, OCD, Type A, first born child heading to middle school for the first time, you don’t want to send her in on the first day without an item on her “required list”.  That was a mountain of irrational behavior I could have lived the rest of my life without witnessing crumble to the ground.

Over dinner the night before our first day, we walked through what the morning was going to look like.  We told the kids (mainly directing towards the girls) that they would need to make their lunches in the morning.  Thomas dropped his head to the table in defeat and said, “I have to make my own lunch?  This is gonna be harder than I thought.”

Ummmm Houston, we might have a problem.

This is the same kid who confidently declared at Open House as if he had rehearsed this line, “I know two big numbers,  100 and 1,000.”

I almost crawled under that tiny kindergarten table and chairs and hid for the rest of the year.  These precious kids of mine are weird.

All that leads us to the first day.  Drop off was decent, emotions were generally kept in check, and we survived the morning.  But then Kev left on a work trip for the rest of the week, and in hindsight I should have seen that this was going to be a bigger problem than I had originally calculated.  Because honestly, that man is generally speaking the voice of reason in this house of estrogen induced insanity; and when you remove him from the equation, we are left with an unstable nucleus my friends.

But with the first week of school almost behind us, I have learned a few things:

-I apparently have failed to teach Thomas the mystery of The Trinity.  He climbed in the car after the first day and declared two things:  “I want to get hot lunch instead of taking my lunch.  They have pasta with red sauce and I want that instead of peanut butter and jelly.” And also, “Why did you never tell me that God and Jesus were the same person?  I thought God was our Father in heaven looking down on us, not a baby.”

There are so many things wrong with his first statements after the first day of Kindergarten, but let’s start with the fact that apparently Thomas prays to “baby Jesus”.  Secondly, his mother the bible teacher, never told him God and Jesus were one.  I’m hoping I’ve covered it, but he just forgot.  Thirdly, the school taught the mystery of The Trinity on the first day of Kindergarten?  Y’all, I considering enrolling in this kindergarten class.  I’m impressed, and also hopeful that he will graduate Kindergarten with a degree in Divinity.

-I also learned the best way to find out what went on at school that day is to not ask questions.   Asking inquisitive questions only produces a response of “Fine.”  But not asking questions will miraculously release an avalanche of information.  Weird.

-There is an unspoken rule amongst siblings that one of them must have an attitude in the car on the way home everyday.  They rotate who will fill that role, but one is on duty at all times.  Unless it’s the first day of school and your husband is gone, then they all have attitudes.

-I learned from the honest mouth of my first born that when she gets stressed out, and doesn’t have all her school supplies, she “gets really hot on the inside of my body and I have this need to grab some papers or something and tear them up.”  Wow.  Just wow.  I drove thirty minutes that evening at 8:30 to the next closest Office Depot and bought the kid her A-Z card dividers.  Lest things get torn up in my house.

-We all should be on Valium.  I learned that this week too.

-We learned Thomas still needs naps.

Driving home on the first day….

Driving home on the second day….

Driving home on the third day….

-I learned Caroline knows nothing of American history.  She was so proud on the way home the second day as she retold the bravery of the Patriots who won our countries’ freedom from Paris, France.  Ummmmm….what?  She also told her teacher her Daddy was getting ready to leave on a mission trip to Philadelphia to help after the tornado.  Bless her heart, he’s going to Philippines to do relief work after the Typhoon.  Bless her.

-I learned Ella will still hold my hand in the halls of middle school.  Which might have been my favorite part of the week.

Through it all, there’s grace upon grace upon grace.  And I’m grateful.  And His grace is sufficient.  But I might pray this week that He rain down a little Valium mixed with that grace, because grace is good and all, but a little Valium mixed in couldn’t hurt.


Amy Heywood