The new school year is our kids’ clean canvas

Well here we are again. The kids are about to start a new school year. Monday is the day my boys have been dreading for three months.

Jordan and Cameron will be in the same school for the first time in several years.

It’s kind of funny to hear Jordan talk to Cameron about it. It’s almost like a scene from one of those  television sitcoms. You know the ones where the older brother tells the younger brother how it’s gonna be in middle school, and that he can’t talk to him in public. “Boy Meets World” and the original “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” come to mind when I think about it.

Jimmy laughed the other night about the conversation and reminded him that life is not a sitcom.

As for Gavin, it doesn’t register with him that he’s gonna have to go back to school. He loves Debra West and Mrs. Nann, whom he will have again this year in preschool, so I’m not a bit worried. They will get him ready for kindergarten this year. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it in another year.

When the kids go back to school, I tend to get a little nostalgic. I remember the days when Robert and I would get everything ready for school.

My mom would always take me shopping for school clothes in early August, and she’d buy Robert’s stuff too. He wasn’t as picky as I was so she could buy his clothes without him being there with us.

By early August, Robert would be busy with two-a-day football practices and have little time for clothes shopping.

In fact, I only remember him going shopping with us once. It was for his senior year. I think that’s the point where he actually cared what he looked like at school. Before that point, he just wore what he had clean.

In the days before school started, I’d plan out what I was going to wear my whole first week. I’d even plan how I’d wear my hair. By my junior year, I started wearing it up in a ponytail with lots of curls. It’s how I liked it, and it was easy to fix.

My junior year was the start of everything good for me. It’s when I started asserting my independence. I liked what I liked, and hung out with people I liked. I really didn’t need to “fit in.” Instead, I wanted to stand out. It was during this time I was figuring out who I wanted to be in life.

It was the first time I dared to venture out of my comfort zone and because of that, I started to grow as an individual.

No, life wasn’t perfect for me. I still had setbacks like when I asked a certain boy to the prom because my boyfriend and I suddenly broke up right before the big night. My crush declined the invitation because he was dating someone else. I was disappointed, but I still managed to look him in the eye during chemistry class the next day. It was uncomfortable, but the world did not cave in simply because a boy didn’t want to go out with me.

I went with my brother’s best friend, Philip, but my big crush did dance with me.

When I think about it, I remember he seemed to stare at me while we danced. He was a nice guy and remains the same even today.

It was also during my junior year of high school that I got a job that didn’t involve me lifting firewood for hours on end.

I became a carhop at Sonic towards the end of my junior year. I had a great time and earned some good money while working there.

Working at Sonic made me open up from my shyness. I am a different person today because of the experience.

My senior year brought even more changes. I no longer had my brother to lean on in school. I was pretty much all on my own. It wasn’t perfect the entire time, but looking back, it was good. I made great friends and lasting memories I can keep forever.

No I was never homecoming queen or a cheerleader or even a soloist in the choir. I was just me trying to make it through high school.  

I even managed to ask my crush out again during my senior year with the same result. I guess he just didn’t like me, and that was okay. The experience made me strong.

Looking back I have no regrets. Not many people can say that they have no regrets.

Each fall after high school brought new experiences—first college, then marriage, and family.

Will this school year be that defining moment for my boys? Probably not. When those defining moments were actually occurring, I did not recognize them as learning tools. It’s true you never know what a new school year will bring.

It’s like a new opportunity for every student. It’s almost as symbolic as New Year’s Day for students. It’s the start of something fresh and new. I’m excited to see what my boys do with the clean canvas they get with the new year.

<em>Melissa Cason is a staff writer for the Advance Monticellonian. She can be reached at 367-5325.</em>

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