First day of school

Its 7:10 am, Friday 28 August 2015 and my kid is on his way to school. He is clean, dressed, and fed. He was ready for the bus with 10 minutes to spare!

Everything went well, but it could have gone better. Its only the first day of the new school year. Still, we’ve been ready for this since the 1st week of August…Supplies, snacks, and spankin new clothes were purchased weeks in advance. Not to mention we’ve been at this since the kid was in kindergarten, and he starts fifth grade today.

I went to bed at 9:30p, but I was still watching Netflix when 1:00a rolled around. I’m not quite sure when I fell asleep, but I am POSITIVE when I woke up…It was 3:51 am, and the rooster was crowing.

I still had plenty of time to get back to sleep, and I did…Just about a half an hour before the alarm went off at 6:00am. I dragged myself out of bed, and headed for the boy’s room, calling his name as cheerfully as I could. He never moved till I pulled the blanket back, and rubbed his back.

He woke up with just a hint of protest, and hit the shower. Meanwhile I went to check his bag. I recall that he and the wife had been marveling over his new school supplies, and camo messenger bag for weeks. I looked in to make sure it was loaded properly…Water bottle-Check! Index cards-Check! Markers- Check! So where is the rest of it? Where are the 3 spiral bound notebooks? Where are the erasable pens? Where are the pencils? This bag has been loaded and hung by the door since JULY!

Turns out William has aspirations of being a comic book writer, and he borrowed his notebooks and pens to make comics…I do recall seeing a soggy spiral bound notebook with comic strips drawn in out in the yard..

No worries! William’s school district is one of the ones that make sure the kids have all they need by way of notebooks, and pens! Typically we have supplied notebooks and they have come home full of drawings anyway! I am sure this year will be the exception!

I manage to find a package of pens I hid away last spring, and shove those in his bag. Then Will comes down the hall wanting to know what to wear. Again, Jen has had this under control for months. NO PROBLEM! We just shopped for pants last week, and got 3 pairs that were a little long, but 10 year olds grow better than my garden!

EVERY SINGLE PAIR OF PANTS I tried on that kid were too long! NO PROBLEMO! I’ll just roll up the cuffs! I help him with his socks and shoes, and send him after a brush. I notice that the kid used soap in the shower this morning! I run the brush through his hair, give him a glance, and decide he’ll pass muster. I send him off to check the time. 6:30a! What’s next?

Breakfast! We learned early on that most breakfast foods are heavy in carbs, and low in protein. Carbs are good for an energy boost, but William’s bus ride is just about an hour, so I am sure his bus driver appreciates us NOT giving him an added boost of energy. What he needs is the staying power of protein, so I send him off to school with a belly full of steak! We tried letting him skip a heavy protein breakfast a few times, and he really had bad days when we did! Besides, once he actually gets to school, they will pump him full of cabs anyway!

So William and I chat as he eats his steak, and drinks some milk. Then we have a few minutes to converse with Jen, via facebook. She is at work in Bangor. She does live-in shifts, and typically has some time to spare while her clients are still asleep, or having breakfast.

Before long it is 6:50a, and time to head out for the bus. Will’s bus driver is very prompt…You can set your watch by her. I’ll have to remember to do that on Monday…If I can even find my watch…I don’t usually wear it in the summer…No real need to know the time being a stay at home dad. Lois typically arrives at 6:59a, but with it being the first day, there could be a major change in the number of kids riding this year. So it is best to be outside a few minutes early to be sure.

We get outside, and I snap a few pictures to share with Jen. William complains about it, and we discuss some Minecraft characters. We hear a noise in the woods, and I wonder if it is the large white ape everybody in the neighborhood has seen, except me. It turns out to be chickens foraging for salamanders, and slugs. Then the bus comes.

And just like that, in just about an hour it is all over. There was no shouting or crying about not wanting to get up. There was no refusal to bathe, or falling asleep in a hot soapy bath. There was no frantic searching laundry baskets and the dryer for clean clothes, no missing sneakers. There were no refusals to eat breakfast. I didn’t have to shout warnings about the time every 10 minutes followed by shouts of “YOU ARE GOING TO MISS YOUR BUS!” And there was no running up the driveway to the sound of school bus brakes locking up!

But like I said! It’s only the first day! We’ve had plenty of practice! I KNOW it will come!

Drive carefully out there folks! The life you save just might be my kid’s!


Doug Alley

About Doug Alley

I grew up in Bath, Maine in an upper lower class family with 3 step sisters, a step brother, and a little sister. After high school I spent 3 years serving in the USAF at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage AK. I've competed in, and won, demolition derbies. I've competed in, and never won, stock car races. I am the 47-year-old father of an 11-year-old boy who is pretty sure he is smarter than I ever was. We live on a little less than an acre of land in a 1973 mobile home in Stetson with my wife Jen, some cats, a few chickens, and rabbits, and a couple of goats. I hunt, fish, camp out, dabble in photography, gardening, and I cook in variable degrees of near success.