Yesterday I was all cheeky about how we are so over this summer, about how we are so ready for school.
After I wrote that entry, we went on to have another typical summer day. This included a long, leisurely visit to the animal shelter, a Costco shopping trip, where the kids piled lunch-box necessities (a term I use loosely) into our cart for an hour, and then back to the animal shelter.
We don’t go to the shelter to adopt a pet, but because it’s free summer fun. The kids spend hours petting the animals, which the dogs, and cats, kids, and volunteers all love. The more face-time the animals have with kids, the less they’re freaked out when a real, adopting family comes along.
So, at 3:30, we were sprawled around a stray dog’s kennel, covered in fur, and not thinking one bit about the impending school year. Or about how the kids are in some bad summer habits of staying in their pjs until noon. Or about those last tought-to-find school supplies we hadn’t yet bought. Or about Meet the Teacher night, which started in a couple hours. Plus, I hadn’t checked on M’s work schedule for the evening. And there was no dinner plan in sight. Although the kids were angling to eat the Goldfish they had bought for their lunches.
Fast forward to the Hergenraders finally strolling into Meet the Teacher night very late. I had missed my post selling t-shirts for the PTL. M still hadn’t eaten dinner. We were struggling.
As we walked through the school doors, reality hit us as cold as the air conditioning.
Oh yeah…school. Schedule. Teachers with expectations. Homework assignments and drop-off and pick-up procedures. Rules and deadlines and HEREWEGO!
For Nate, reality set in when we showed him his name on his cubby. Even though we’ve told him approximately 7,000 times YOU ARE STARTING SCHOOL,  seeing N-A-T-E on a classroom cubby widened his eyes. Oh. This is really real.
For Catie, reality was choosing her desk in her new classroom. And finding out, surprise!, she was on the volleyball team. Again, blame it on the heat. but I had kind of forgotten this might be happening. Then, she walked into the school, and the coach was like, “See you at open gym on Saturday!” And she was like, “Ummm…what?!”
But, for Sam and Elisabeth, reality set in when they realized they would not be in the same class. Now, THIS, we have discussed and discussed. But the theoretical “You will have different teachers” was much more real when the twins found their desks. And realized their twin’s name was nowhere in the room.
Sam and Elisabeth have had an especially twin-ny summer. They’ve played Mommy/Daddy for most of their waking hours. They’re a twin cliche: finishing each other’s sentences, speaking their own language, and always touching.
Because of this, I’m glad they’ll get some much-needed independence and self-identity in their own classes next year. They need to make their own friends, face the scary Meet the Teacher Night and First Day of School alone.
But, wow. Last night,  I saw it dawn on each of their faces that being separated meant all these things. It was hard for me to watch Elisabeth search for Sam’s desk in her classroom. It was hard for me to watch Sam realize Elisabeth wouldn’t be putting her school supplies away next to him.
Tomorrow, the first day of school, will be really hard for Sam and Elisabeth, best friends.
I know they’ll survive the separation. They’ll be stronger for it. This is all good.
Now, whether or not our family will survive getting out the door at the time we are normally rolling out of bed remains to be seen.
Stay tuned…..


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2 Responses
    1. Christina

      Shirley…I don’t have any good book recommendations. We’ve found that the twins were more prepared for it than we thought they would be. In the case of our twins, the best route has been trusting our gut. And giving them lots of extra attention that first year in new classes.

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