The day before the day before school starts. Eli starts First Grade tomorrow and he declared that Stephen would walk him in, but only that first day.
This past week I bought what felt like mountains of school supplies. First, I bought some for Eli. And then I made a second trip to buy for a local elementary school where 95% of the children get free or reduced price lunch. 475 kids out of the 500 that attend there don’t have the means to buy paper and pencils to take to school to learn.
I have been over and over this in my head this week in relation to Eli. How would I feel if I couldn’t buy him the things he needed to comfortably get an education? What would it mean to me to not be able to afford shoes for him to run and play in? How devastated and ashamed would I be to not have the money for my son to eat lunch while he was at school? And how that daily grind would eventually make me not care very much if he received a good education while he was there.
I’ve loved school supply season since before I started attending school. I love office supplies and have since I was about three — at least that’s my earliest memory of loving paper.
Paper takes me to my happy place. For me, it is the basis of creativity. Starting with a blank page and making something beautiful. Or making something not beautiful. It doesn’t matter because the process of putting pencil or brush or scissors to paper is the magical part.
Now think of the 475 kids that don’t have the means to do that. And in some cases have never even had the experience of a beautiful white blank piece of paper and a brand new pencil.
Every time I’ve thought of it this week, I’ve nearly cried.
So before you go out to buy school supplies this fall, find out where you can drop off a few items for a school in your area that needs help. Or ask your child’s teacher if there is a boy or girl in the class that needs a few things to help him/her get started. A package of paper or a few pencils don’t seem like much, but to one child you just might be opening a magical door.
In honor of Dr. Suess’s birthday this week, Eli’s school has activities planned every day. Today is crazy hair day. Stephen and I decided he looked a bit like an Anime character but since I don’t know anything about Anime really, I have no idea which one.
He started asking me this morning at 6:03 when I would fix his hair. He asked again three minutes later and then about 3 minutes after that. I think he was excited about putting goop in his hair. I’m willing to do just about what ever it takes to keep him interested in learning.
This is how Megan and I keep our kids out of trouble. See how it works?
From our weekend at the lake in Arkansas. You can imagine the kind of birthday May had with all her grandchildren in one spot.
The obligatory grandchildren on a brown couch photo. As Andrew said, “Everywhere we go, there are brown leather couches.”
See? More brown couches. This time with the optional box attachment.
I don’t know why we’ve never gotten a photo with the kids and ¡Tim! so here’s one for the record books.
This photo cracks me up. Everyone is doing exactly what they do best in this photo.
Finally, Eli’s first day of school. I can’t wait for him to get home and tell me all about it.
We rushed home from our weekend visiting with Stephen’s family to attend open house at Eli’s school.
I expected the school to look like the elementary school I attended: one very long hallway with second grade at the end nearest the offices and stretching to fifth grade at the far end, and Kindergarten, first grade, and sixth grade outside the building in trailers for reasons I never quite understood.
I started Kindergarten in a trailer near the cafeteria. It had dark paneling (I did start school in the 70s) and the bathroom was in a separate building. I remember this very clearly because every day at nap time, I cried so hard I had to go to the bathroom to pull myself together. I don’t know now why I cried. I enjoyed the other kids and getting to go to one of the first grade rooms for reading. It’s true I didn’t get along with my teacher but that doesn’t seem like the reason in retrospect.
I carried all of those memories with me into Eli’s classroom. His is bright with giant windows. There’s a rug at the front of the room near the white board. There are more books in his classroom than in the children’s department of the public library behind our house, maybe more than is in the whole library. There’s a pretend kitchen and a corner that looks like a shrunken mad-scientist lab. The teacher’s desk is a low table. She has three lamps at different locations; it looks as if you could curl up and spend the day reading if you needed to take a break. Like the mom in Tom Goes to Kindergarten, I’m pretty sure that I’m going to want to continue going to Kindergarten after the first day.
In those first few moments as I was taking in the place where Eli will have his first formal educational experiences, I have to admit I teared up a little. Because without even knowing I wanted it, I know just from looking around that room and meeting his teacher that he’s going to have better memories than I do. It makes the transition a little easier for me to bear.