Regardless of when their birthdays fall, my kids instantly age on the first day of any given school year. The first day of school is always a milestone, but this year is a really big one for both of my kids.
As a 7th grader, Amanda not only starts a new school — Newtown Middle School — but what we are convinced will be a new way of life. There is much more freedom given to them and responsibility expected from them.
Amanda is excited about taking new classes this year, such as French and Art Enrichment, but what she's most looking forward to is being just a middle-schooler.
Kyle has moved up to 1st grade at Sandy Hook School, leaving behind the midday kindergarten bus run to begin a very long day, arriving home around 4:00 p.m.
First grade might offer a lot to kids, such as art every week and lunch in the cafeteria, but the thing Kyle most looks forward to is being able to visit the first-grade playground.
"It will be very big, but I know I will love it," Kyle said.
The first day of school is much more than a one-day event and required weeks of preparation of shopping for school supplies and clothes, and in Amanda's case, training herself to wake up earlier so she could get ready in time to catch the bus at 6:40 a.m.
By the time they went to bed, they had backed their bags with all their supplies, and laid out their clothes for the first day of school.
Kyle opted to "look handsome" on the first day of school and selected a new polo shirt for the big day, rather than his more typical T-shirt attire. Several days before, Amanda had already figured out what she wanted to wear, and how she wanted to style her hair.
Today was the big day, and the house was full of excitement.
Even though Kyle should not have been awake at 6:30 a.m., he hopped out of bed to say goodbye to his big sister.
Amanda allowed me to go out to the bus with her, but she hugged me goodbye (Yes, I got a goodbye hug!) when we heard the first rumble of the bus coming around the corner so that she could play it cool as she got on the bus.
Long before Kyle's scheduled pick-up time of 8:40 a.m., he was ready to go outside and wait for the bus. We were excited to see his beloved bus driver from last year, and she greeted us both with a happy "Good morning," as he got on the bus.
Don't be fooled – the first day of school is not just for kids.
I am feeling some anxiety about the unknown myself. I am worried about my daughter navigating that school and paying attention to what is required, and hopeful she will have lunch with some of her friends.
I am worried my son will be a basket case by the end of the long day. I hope he'll be calm and obedient (A mother can always dream). I hope he'll get the lunch system and cafeteria down pat.
I'm a little nervous for them, but like each of my kids, the excitement is winning out. With my kids in the capable hands of the Newtown Public Schools, I think I'll go pour myself another cup of coffee.