The Bliss Kids went back to school last week. We had a lovely, full, blissful summer vacation. And yet… it felt so odd. I couldn’t believe the first day of school was upon us. Even that morning, it all seemed surreal.
We took the traditional first day of school photos, with my son just wanting to get the photo done and over with and my daughter hamming it up. Typical.
Yet even before the photo, my son reminded me of another first day of school tradition.
“Mom, where’s my note?” he asked. And my heart sunk to that place where mama hearts sink when you realize you forgot something very, very important.
Oh crap. The first day of school note. I didn’t remember. How could I not remember? I design back-to-school note printables, for goodness’ sake! But he remembered. His face looked wounded, and it dawned on me that he had just searched his backpack, pockets, and lunchbox for my note… only to find none.
The note was important to him. Who knew? I thought only I, the overly sentimental mom, cared about these things.
Luckily, I had some of the custom notecards I made for last year’s notes and quickly scribbed a heartfelt, encouraging, full of love first day of school note to each child.
As I placed the note in my son’s backpack, he said decidedly, “I’m going to read my note on the bus. Thanks, mom!”
And he hopped on outside for the first day photo, then, there they went, my little hearts of hearts, stepping one, two, three steps up into the big yellow bus with the other getting-bigger kids. And with lots of mama and kid waves and hesitant smiles, off to school they went.
It was hard to work that day. I got a lot done, but not without thoughts of them flying in and out of my brain throughout the day.
Are they happy with their teachers? Do they have any mean kids in their classes? I wonder what they’re doing right now. And, right now.
Tick, tock. The bus came back. With it, my kidlets, who looked tired but happy.
As we put up backpacks and they started to take off their shoes, I reminded them we have one final first day of school tradition, if they were up for it. “ICE CREAM!” They both screamed with wide excited eyes and quickly put their shoes back on.
At the end of their first day of school each year, we go out for ice cream and talk about their day. I love this so much. First, because I just love watching my kids eat ice cream. Man, do they LOOOVE ice cream. And man, do I love watching them do something that makes them so happy. Second, because I could listen to my kids talk and talk about their time in school forever. Classes, teachers, homework (or lack thereof), schedules, what their friends did over the summer, bus stories — I love it all. And now I really understand that they, too, love this.
While these traditions may not mean exactly the same thing to them as they do to me, I get it now: these seemingly silly little rituals we started become a part of us, a part of our family. Kids come to rely on them as comforting blankets of routine that they can count on during times that may otherwise be filled with the unknown, questions, fears.
I don’t think I need to tell you that I love my kids more than the moon, chocolate, or wine. But sometimes it just takes a little moment to make you stop and realize just how big and important, meaningful and rewarding the job of being Mom really is.
“Mom, where’s my note?”
I don’t think I’ll forget from now on. And I look forward to the day when my kids can show their own kids the piles of first day of school notes they received over the years. Maybe they’ll continue the same tradition with their kids. Maybe they’ll start their own. Either way, the value of these little family rituals is absolutely priceless.