I went back to school today.
When I got up the courage to count I realized I have not been in a classroom as a student for over 11 years. That is a very long time, as 11 years ago would have been when I was in my 20s and some (namely my husband, a whole five months younger than I) would say that I am quickly sliding into 40 (gulp!).
As I packed my backpack this morning (notebook, pens, highlighter, books) the other students in our household were most intrigued by the idea that I was headed out the door for my first day of school. They helped me dig out school supplies from the kitchen drawers and asked critical questions with deep looks of concern on their little faces:
“Is your teacher nice?”
(Answer: I am not sure. I’ve never met her before. I heard she is a hard grader. I also heard she is an Episcopal priest, but neither of these bits of information shed any light on the question of whether or not she is liberal with the bathroom passes.)
“Do you know any of the other kids in your class?”
(Answer: I know one other member of my class who is, in fact, a few years younger than I am. However, I would not call her a kid. I don’t know ANYONE ELSE AT ALL!)
“What are the lunch choices?”
(Answer: No idea, but I hope there’s pizza.)
“Do you have a lot of homework?”
(Answer: I already had to read five books and write three papers. There had better not be too much more to do or I might keel over.)
I don’t have answers to all of these questions yet; I suppose I’ll find out very soon. The thing that keeps amazing me is how, even separated by years and years of school and several degrees, all the students in our house can relate to one another with the same concerns, the same anxieties about the experience of stepping into a classroom.
Today, on my first day of school (if I don’t hypervenhilate first), I’ll try to say a quick prayer of thanks for the unlikely occasions that bring us together, for the common human experiences that bond the hearts of a third grader worried about the social dynamics of the playground and a (much) older student . . . with the same exact fears.
And then together we’ll sling on our backpacks and head . . . back to school.