Today is my last first day of school.
Oh, sure, there will be First Days during the college years, but those aren't the same somehow. For the last 22 years, each September there has been at least one child who has woken up early one morning soon after Labor Day, thinking, "It's the first day of school!" (with varying inflections depending upon the child).
22 years of new clothes from the skin out, carefully chosen weeks ago and laid out smooth the night before.
22 years of healthy breakfasts and First Day treats (a funky pen, silver pencils, puppy pocket calendars).
22 years of First Day photos, smiling faces rising higher each year against the panels of the door.
22 years of "It's time to go!"
22 years of "Travel as a set! See you after school! Have a great day!"
Half of those 22 years we've had one or more kids in high school; today our last two began their Senior Year. This morning was like 22 others, with oatmeal and holographic pencils, stiff new jeans and sharp new haircuts. In the photos, Jack's head was higher than the wreath on the door; Sassy actually smiled instead of sticking out her tongue.
Oh, sure, it's not over yet. There are 9 months still to enjoy - but (like being pregnant with your last child) this year's events carry the bittersweetness of The Last Time.
The last time we watch Grease with new high school seniors. (Hey, can't send a kid off to school without an earworm or two!) The last time I have to fill out pages and pages of take-home Back to School paperwork. The last time I'll be a member of a PTA. The last Prom, the last speech tournament, the last school concert. (Okay, I might not be too choked up about that final one.)
Oh, well. Sassy and Jack left the house this morning full of good cheer and hope, so I will do the same. I will enjoy my annual Switch the Summer Decor to Fall Decor sweep of the rooms, and make the last first after-school snack of the year. I'll air out the house and then close it up tight (it's supposed to reach nearly 100 degrees today). I'll try to remember just what it is I do with myself during the "normal" months.
I will do whatever it takes to get "Beauty School Dropout" out of my head.
Good luck, Class of 2012!