Busy in Bristow: Celebrating Back to School

| September 13, 2015 | 0 Comments | Busy in Bristow

busyinbristow-1Back to school means back to routines – homework finished, lunches packed, showers taken, clothes for the next day laid out like battle armor.

Returning before Labor Day, Prince William County students and teachers roasted outside in the afternoons, hot sun blaring down on our heads while Fairfax counterparts were still swimming in neighborhood pools and enjoying discounted rentals at beaches.

On Friday, all that accumulated heat culminated in a thunderstorm that lit up the sky with vivid bolts of lightning and when it came, a torrential downpour – right at middle school dismissal time. It was a good week, but we were happy it was the weekend, and when parents met their children at the school bus stop, we were happy to reclaim them once more.

Just as we knew they would, the back-to-business-stressors have already risen up like taunting spirits of school years’ past … here are the …

forgotten lunch and the negative balance on the school lunch account …

backpack left hanging on the second peg near the door …

unsigned form in the bottom of said backpack …

mounds of laundry moaning from their hampers and Youngest Son who hasn’t noticed how depleted his dresser drawer has gotten so that on Wednesday of the first week back he claims he’s got no shorts to wear in this 90 degree heat …

backseat bickering in the van on the five minute ride to school …

five minute ride turning into 15 minutes because we got stuck behind not one, but two, orange buses …

chore of changing out the children’s wardrobe – twice in the space of a month – since summer’s heat extends far into September and half of October …

impossibility of fitting one more thing into an already packed week but having to do it anyway …

Oh, where did the carefree days of summer go? The sun-filled mornings of enrichment camps and road trips, the afternoons of splashing in pools with friends and family, the lazy evenings with backyards full of fireflies?

Of course for many of you parents summer also means expensive bills for enrichment camps and vacations, heaps of towels and bathing suits that have to be laundered lickety split before the next day’s swim, and evenings of commuting home in Washington, D.C. traffic with the air conditioner blasting in a futile attempt to  unstick your shirt from the small of your back where it glued itself on your walk to your car.

I expect you’re happy to see school start again … maybe even happier than the couple on that old Staples commercial … you know, the ones that were literally dancing in the aisles as they threw notebooks and pens into their buggy while their forlorn child crept along behind them, his shoulders slumped, his forehead furrowed into a frown.

But for us teachers, returning to school means we now have to eat our neatly packed sandwiches or leftovers in the space of 15 minutes to make sure we leave enough time to visit our mailboxes and run to the copy machine, and it means monitoring our water intake so we can make it through three classes without having to run to the bathroom which is nowhere near our classrooms.

Still, the thrills of teaching are all omnipresent, and I can’t imagine having chosen another career. When my own children come home on their first day so excited about their new class and all of the fun things they’re going to do this year, I know my teacher friends have also exuded their enthusiasm for learning and their love of children.

So here’s to a new school year … and the long list of things we have to look forward to … including, and this is just a glimpse of the gladness I saw in five days … the

welcoming smile on the bus driver’s face as she waves my kids aboard the bus and the good feeling I get in the pit of my stomach knowing she will take good care of them while they’re with her …

excitement of my Youngest Son scurrying around the house to find objects that define him to share with the class, filling the bag with gems, toy rocket parts, and spy gear …

pride on Youngest Daughter’s face when she recites her multiplication tables …

the twins’ sweet voices singing a new song about an alligator they just learned from their music teacher …

happiness of Oldest Daughter as she learns she’s in the same class as her best friend for the first time in four years …

sound of the bow on violin strings as Oldest Daughter plays her first musical notes …

thrill of Oldest Son’s touchdown and the sound that 50 pairs of cleats makes on asphalt walking back, in victory, to the locker room …

30 glistening desks in my classroom, waiting to be the place where my students will write some of their best work and read some of their most memorable literary passages …

Happy School Year 2015-16, Prince William County.

© 2015, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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