Annually, the last two weeks of August are a blur of bureaucratic activity and faculty finagling as I set things in order for Orientation and Registration Week. I have lists referring to lists of lists of pressing matters and looming deadlines. The tyranny of the urgent in bullet-point.
This year was no different. …except for one thing.
I left work early on Friday. One whole glorious hour early.
If I dared to admit it, and risk the wrath of Mr. Murphy and his dumb law, I was ready. Everything was in order. My work was done. So I was outa there.
Now, one would think that I might be rather self-congratulatory as I commuted home on a sparsely populated subway in the pre-rush-hour mid-Friday afternoon of a Labour Day weekend. But no. I was too preoccupied with reviewing my mental list of lists of lists. Madly, I might add. Feeling neither pride nor happiness nor any particular sense of preparedness for the new academic year. No, instead, I felt as though I had just slipped the chains of a working weekend.
And then I saw her. Sitting opposite me. Between her parents. Swinging her legs up and down, gleefully admiring her squeaky-clean brand-spanking-new pink floral-printed sneakers. …resplendent with iridescent sequins. The look on her face was a fantastic mixture of big-girl pride and giddy delight to sport such sparkly shoes. This girl was ready. Bring on the new school year! She had fancy footwear and glittery gumption.
I figure she must have been six. Which means she is most likely starting Grade One today. And that gave me pause. Grade One. No more half-day or partial-week kindergarten. She’s joining the big kids. Five full days each week. Hopefully, for at least the next twelve years.
And so it begins. Again.
My mother tells a story of my second day of kindergarten. Apparently she gently woke me, and told me that it was time to get ready for school. To which, I am told, I said with utter innocence, “Oh no, Mommy. I already went. I liked it.”
That was forty years ago. And I continue to go. And I still like it.
I simply need new shoes.