Sunday, August 12, 2012

Back to School

It’s Saturday night and I watch my two oldest girls go through their newly purchased school supplies like it’s Halloween candy.  Still in the plastic bags, they go through one by one, taking out the pens and markers, pulling out the nine folders I bought of baby animals and like a draft, selecting one by one which one they want – Haley selects the bunny rabbit which was a bit of surprise as the kitten hanging out of a basket was the odds-on favorite to win.

The only reason they are still in bags is because I came home and just threw them in the closet.  School doesn’t start for another few weeks and I assumed they wouldn’t even care.  As a matter of fact I also assumed I would have to be the one to go and organize.  However, Haley came up to me while I was sitting on the couch and asked when we were going to go through the items.  I told Haley they could go ahead and do it themselves if they really wanted to.  I was confident my response would leave to a “never-mind”, but instead they both ran downstairs to begin their organization. 

If I remember correctly, they’ve been complaining about school starting soon, so this joy in anything school throws me off.  I put my paper down and walk downstairs.  There they are with all the bags on my bed.  Haley has her new backpack almost filled and tries it on with every new supply put in and walks around to give it a test run.

Kelly sees me and asks if I still have her back pack, now I feel bad as I only bought a new one for Haley, Kelly’s is still in good shape.  I am about to tell her I will pick her up a new one, but they seem to be having so much fun that I walk to the closet and pull out her pink Hello Kitty pack.  I get a “Bonus! I still have this!” and off she goes back to the bed to put in her supplies and –like her big sister, at this age always like her big sister – puts in an item or two and give it a test walk from the edge of the bed to the doorway, a whole four feet of walking.  Kelly nods her head as she gets to the door - she has given her approval that these number 2 pencils I bought will do just nicely in her Hello Kitty bag – and then back three and a half steps back to the bed to begin on the markers.

I am now in full dad mode as I hide behind the door and peek in so they can’t see me.  I watch the organization of this grand event – “Kelly tell you what, want don’t you take my, pooh bear pencil case, if you will let me your puppies notebook?” Haley says, holding the pencil case in front of Kelly to make the trade seem more desirable. “Deal!” Kelly says immediately, as she grabs it from Haley and begins to put in her scissors and glue sticks without handing Haley the folder, but seems satisfied with the exchange.

I like seeing my kids be kids.  I love these reminders that life is good and there is still so much to enjoy.  They force me to get out of my head of how difficult things can be, how much sadness is in the world, how much crap there is to deal with.  They don’t have time for all that over-thinking; there are pencils to be sharpened and flash cards to put rubber bands around.

It’s infectious, I think I put those bags in my closet because I don’t want to have to deal with the fact that school is starting in two weeks.  Is there anything more annoying that summer is ending and school is starting?  I don’t want to even think about all the details that school for three kids will involve.  But the kids didn’t even give me an hour, they pulled those bags right out of the closet and started their little party.  I can’t believe that I am thinking this, but I think I’m now excited for school to start also.  Damn the details, there is a year of new possibilities and wonder ahead for them.  Thanks girls, I owe you one.


  1. Children are so present. They allow us to also be there with them. In the excitement. In the lets just stay in this moment and look at pencils and put our backpacks together. The end of summer is coming but to know they can find excitement in the coming year is great. A gift.
    A good analogy. A gift needs to be opened.
    Thanks for sharing Matt.

  2. Isn't it true how moments like this bring us back to feel some joy in our lives! I have two teenage daughter's and when I see them laughing with each other it makes me smile and just watching my new kitten playing this morning does it too!

  3. There is something to be said about a new, unopened pack of crayons! Love this Matt. Thanks for sharing. I am amazed everyday by my daughter's delight in the simplest things. Her understanding that life keeps moving forward.
    P.S. I am not yet allowed to say the "S" (school) word outloud in front of her! lol