Our back-to-school ritual is being a little compressed and altered this year.
There are normally two parts: the shopping trip, and the First Day breakfast. The shopping trip consists of breakfast out, followed by the purchasing of school supplies and clothing. We accomplished most of the shopping yesterday, including the all-important Measuring of the Feet. I think that new shoes are so completely a requirement for school that the kids probably could not even attend if they did not have new shoes. We no longer buy an entire new wardrobe for back-to-school, however, because the boys outgrow theirs at an alarming rate, so we just get a couple of things at a time. And they don’t even get their supply lists now until the first day of classes, so that also has to wait. #2 daughter’s school shopping is of course hundreds of dollars worth of college textbooks, for which I simply get the bill.
The ceremonial breakfast on the first day of school includes a special breakfast, a table decorated with silly stuff, and cups full of pens and pencils. Here we have the silly decorations and cups full of pencils — but no breakfast. This is because it is not the first day of school yet. That won’t be till Friday. But #2 daughter is leaving tomorrow. And today we are going out to breakfast. So no breakfast on the table. But we didn’t want her to feel left out, so we are having the silly stuff anyway. Then the breakfast out, and then she has to go to work while the boys and I continue our shopping. I think the whole back-to-school ritual at our house is becoming outdated. Soon it will be purely vestigial — new shoes and pencils in their coffee cups.
Although yesterday was largely about shopping, I did manage to get a bit of knitting done. Here is the left front of Brooklyn, getting as long as the back. You can see why I rarely show pictures of Brooklyn. It is dull. With the stockinette rolling as it does, you cannot even see the shape — which is, after all, pretty dull itself. My grandmother would never knit anything in dark colors, even if that was what the recipient really wanted, because it was just too dull. If you wanted a sweater from her, you had better like turquoise or orange. But often the things that are really fun to knit or interesting to post are not what a person actually wants to wear. So here is Brooklyn, dull or not, on its way to becoming a handsome track jacket for handsome #1 son. He is disappointed that it will not be completed in time for the first day of school, but I am sure he will get over it, especially since it will be 90 degrees out on that day.
Now, I have something else to say about Back to School. Over at Feebeeglee’s, where I could not comment on it (some quirk of my computer, I suspect), there was a post about the separation of families. That is, in traditional societies, families stayed together and worked together. Now, the kids go off to school separately and the parents go off to their separate jobs. This is rather sad. I have many happy memories of my days as a stay-at-home homeschooling mom, working alongside my husband and children in the garden and in our home. We still relied on my husband’s income from his job in town, though.
I work with a family — That Man and The Empress are husband and wife and The Princess is their daughter — and The Poster Queen and I have often speculated that we might not enjoy working all day with our husbands. We would have fewer topics of conversation in the evening, it seems to us, and less of a respite from work, when we needed a respite. Less of a respite from home, too, if we ever felt we neded one. Just less variety overall.
#2 daughter and #1 son work together. #1 daughter worked in the same doctor’s office where they now are, and I suppose #2 son will do the same when he is ready for a student job. We turn out a consistently good product around here, so there seems to be no reason for the dynasty to fall. They enjoy it.
So I was thinking about that, and then there was a conversation in the choir room at church on parents and back-to-school. The choir is full of teachers, and they were expressing the common belief that parents look forward to getting rid of their kids and are “ecstatic” at sending them back to school all day so they can get them out of the house. This is widely believed, I know, but it has never been true for me. I am at work while they are at school, so I can’t exactly say that I miss them, but it is nice, in the summer, to be able to have lunch with my children. I certainly never think, “Oh, goodie! I can get rid of my kids now!”
6 thoughts on “Monday August 15, 2005”
I have done the prayer shawl and you are right with big needles and yarn it probably would be big enough and it is a quick easy knit. Thank you for the advice.
The only thing that I can think of about the sending kids back to school deal (and I have no kids of my own but am praying that soon we will be lucky enough for a chilld) maybe because kids need alot of stimulation that is positive or else they start to be “hard to handle” that couold be a reason.
I agree with what you said though and wouldn’t see that as a huge perk, but like I said I have no children yet to base this on, I have been married 4 years now though so we are ready I think…
I think it’s wonderful the way you maintain certain traditions, even though the circumstances surrounding those traditions have changed.
I have worked in the same office as my mother, a mistake I’ll never make again. I currently work in the same office as Dan, which is convenient for transportation but somewhat troublesome otherwise. Now my sister and I are actually discussing joining the Navy together.
I get to answer your questions from both sides! I am a mother and I absolutely LOVE spending time with my son in and out of school. I enjoy having him home for summer and I enjoy working at his school during the year. I am also a teacher and have seen parents that feel as I do and parents that are most happy to drop the kids off at school and go on with thier lives for a few hours childless. I would say however, that the majority of the parents go to work and are only relieved about school starting in the sense that they do not have to secure or pay for child care and that they know their child is in a safe place. And you have reminded me that I still need to take Andrew school shopping! LOL
Coming from an old-fashioned family in which the father worked and the mother stayed at home (Mum decided that she’d worked for 20 years and that was enough – she’d rather spend the rest of her time at home with her kids) the whole kids and parents living separate lives always seems weird to me. My siblings and I went to the same school when our ages allowed it. When it didn’t my friends (who had little siblings the same age as mine) and I would sneak out of school and wander over to the school at which the little kids were, just to make sure they weren’t getting picked on. My sister and I worked for the same organisation doing different jobs. A little later my brother and I worked for the same organisation doing the same job. My brother and I now work for the same, different organisation doing different jobs. It’s not quite the same now that we are all adults rather children – our personalities are more obviously different now than when we were kids – but it still feels normal to be working in the same place as at least one of my siblings. My sister’s partner also works with his brothers and holidays with them. As young children our holidays were always family holidays, as teenagers, my siblings and I holidayed together sharing a motel unit. My mother and I would also go on holidays sharing a motel unit when I was in my teens and early 20s – we were highly compatible holiday goers and always enjoyed the same things. My niece at 20 still spends time at her mother’s place or sometimes mine when she’s not working (but she’s working nearly all the time now and I think both my sister and I miss her dropping in) Next year my sister, niece and I are planning a short holiday to Australia to shop and celebrate The Kid’s 21st (not quite the same as going to the US but it will do for a start 🙂 ) Close knit family togetherness does cause problems in that if one family member is highly stressed the stress spreads very quickly and everyone ends up mad at each other but it eventually passes (although sometimes it takes quite a while) It’s a fair price for the fact that you always have the family ready to step in and help if/when things get tough.
I was a little sad when, in the middle of choir, they all started saying they were sure the parents would be glad to ‘get rid of the kids.’ Can it be that they have forgotten that they are someone’s child, too?
Maybe it’s because I am still one of those kids that goes to school.
So I voiced my opinion – she said as though it was a huge surprise – and they all quickly said that it was different for me. “You’re going away to school!”
Ah I remember how exciting back to school shopping used to be. Now that I’m in college, we do it the grown up college way: wait ’till the last moment possible when the professor tells you the upcoming test will be heavily based upon textbook material…and you don’t yet have the textbook. 😀 Keep it copasetic. Peace.
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