There is energy in the air, an electric current. Excitement abounds, coupled with fear of the unknown. Lists are being made and checked twice. Preparations and contingency plans are being put in place.
Nope, it isn’t the approaching Labor Day weekend festivities. In just a few more days, the kids go back to school. About 3,100 students will board school buses and car pools, or walk or ride their bikes to local campuses beginning Tuesday, Sept. 4, and the new school year will officially be underway.
After what could arguably be considered one of the grandest summers Laguna Beach has experienced in recent years, some kids are already mourning the loss of carefree beach days. This summer’s warm water temperatures and sunshine filled days made the ‘beach day’ option the norm. Our kids were throughout town, on the trolley, at the beach, at the movies, in the parks, on their skateboards and bikes. They were happy and carefree.
If you are not a school age kid, the Labor Day weekend serves as a summer-concluding marker that means it’s time to get back to life. For kids that means school. For parents of school age kids, that means purchasing school supplies, gym clothes, new shoes, and, of course, new school clothes.
But that’s not all. Registrations for each child must be completed. When school schedules are released, there are often adjustments needed. After school programs or organized sports must be vetted. Car pool and after-school child care organized by working parents. It’s an exhausting list that when done right is consuming and a bit stressful for a couple of weeks. It all culminates and becomes worth it in every sense of the word on the first day of school.
We wake them early, feed them breakfast, suggest which new school outfit might be best and of course take the first day of school picture! (If your one of my son’s, you have begged me to do the picture at the house, not at the school, which would be embarrassing! “My friends might see me mom!”) Either way, capturing your kid in a photo is an anxiety filled need as a parent. It’s for you not for them. A new school year means they have gotten another year older. They are just that much closer to someday being adults themselves. We parents need those mementos of the first day of school as a way to ‘slow down’ the forward maturation of our children for at least for a moment.
Out the door they go off and running… We spend the remaining days of September hearing all about new teachers, new kids, new schedules, likes and dislikes, etc. And then the kids find their groove. That is when we start to breathe a sigh of relief. We have done it again.
I usually try to organize a bunch of mom friends for a get together. We toast each other and the accomplishment of another successful school year underway. We relive the best summer memories, but mostly we talk about all the things we each want to accomplish individually now that our kids are back in school.
Let’s face it, during the summer your kids have relied on you each day, all day, for “can we do this?” and “drive me here, please,” etc. It is fun, but it leaves very little time for the parent to get anything else accomplished. Parents that are employed full time or part time have an additional workload keeping their kid busy during summer vacation.
So, to us parents, we did it. We brought our children through a glorious summer, and into the start of a promising new school year!
Kimberly O’Brien-Young is the mother of three sons and married to Ben Young, with whom she owns ADX Apparel Inc.