Yahoos and Boo-hoos

I cried yesterday on the first day of school.  I didn’t think I would.  I mean, I’ve been looking forward to this day.  As a work-at-home mom with two kids, back-to-school means I can get more work done.  Peacefully.  Back-to-school means I can go back to my exercise class.  I can play my own choice of music at my desk without it clashing with the theme song to The Suite Life With Zack and Cody– and sing along if I choose!  And I can clean the house in my underwear (not that I would, but it’s nice to know I could).  But this back-to-school was a mixed bag of emotions, since it was the first day of high school for my oldest daughter, Allison.  Almost as emotional as the first day of kindergarten. Maybe, in truth, moreso.  Only, sadly, there’s not really a proper place for moms to cry on the first day of high school.

With elementary school, it’s different.  It’s almost expected, at least for kindergarten and first grade.  Even Dads are able to get misty-eyed without embarrassment.  Teachers stand ready to share one of the many boxes of kids’ Kleenex stacked against the wall.    Our school even had a parent gathering one year in the cafeteria, after the bell rang on the first day, called “Yahoos and Boo-hoos”, kind of a reception to ease the pain and welcome the school year for new and returning parents.

But with the tremendous milestone of entering high school, I knew we parents were supposed to act like it’s “no big deal”.  I knew, before she told us, what Allison expected of us on the first day: No pictures taken at school, only Mom would go along, and I was to just drive up and let her out.  (And drive away quickly, so as not to look like an overprotective parent, and so less people can see our embarrassing minivan.)  Just like with the first day of Jr. High.  (And parental crying, of course, is a big no-no.)

So I found myself shedding my “high school tears” in the bathroom as I got ready for the day.  Darn, why did they have to start just as I was about to put on mascara?  Maybe it was because I was facing myself in the mirror, kind of like facing my conscience: “This is it.  This is high school.  The beginning of the end.  She will be out of your life before you know it.” WAHHHHH!  I had to turn my back and grab a Kleenex fast because I heard her coming. She wanted to share the bathroom mirror. I knew she had first-day jitters, and seeing me cry would only make them worse. “My contacts are giving me fits this morning,” I said. “I don’t know why!” Luckily she paid no attention as I finally put on the mascara and she began straightening her hair.

After Andy and I took her younger sister to start 5th grade (complete with a photo by the school sign and a hug in the classroom), we arrived back home and found Allison in the kitchen, all ready to go, with plenty of time for her to eat breakfast and re-arrange the contents of her new book bag a few times. (I wondered to myself if this would be the only time this year that she’d be ready a full 45 minutes before the start of school!)  My husband kissed us good-bye and left for work, and then it was time to go.  Upon arriving at school, I missed the turn-in for the carpool line (Aw, Mom!) but it was just as well, since it was stacked about 10 cars deep. We managed to get close to the door anyway, in an adjacent parking lot that wasn’t crowded, which gave us the opportunity to pause as long as we wanted.  “Have a great day,” I said, and– she let me give her a hug!! And she smiled!! (And I didn’t cry!!) Wow, maybe this is the dawn of something new and different!!

A fleeting hope.  As I called out after her as she exited the car– “Pick-up is 4:10, right? Right?!”– she frowned.  “STOP YELLING!” she yelled at me, then turned in a huff, and walked up the sidewalk. I kept myself from crying once again.  She’s just uptight about her first day, I thought.  And then I smiled as I drove away, knowing that next time I get drop-off sass, I’m going to do what I once did when she was in Jr. High, which effectively makes future good-byes so much sweeter (at least for awhile): As she walks into school, I’ll simply roll down the window, wave wildly and sing out, in my loudest, best mom voice, “BYE, ALLISON!! I LOVE YOU!!”  

(adapted from a recent post I made at , a local community news and blog site)


Emmie starts 5th grade

Allison poses in the backyard before heading to freshman year

3 thoughts on “Yahoos and Boo-hoos”

  1. Patty, great post. I got teary eyed reading it cause I know this will be me one day. You rock! I love the part about drop off sass. That’s hilarious! Hang in there.

  2. As I prepare to go to my son’s first event at his college orientation (he is in COLLEGE!) I smile to think of his first day of high school. It goes so fast! Enjoy every moment of it! Each new journey has it’s rewards!

  3. I have an Allison and an Emily too! But they’re 6 and 4, respectively, and I think it’s still okay for me to get a bit misty-eyed.

    Just not in front of them. And certainly not in front of their friends.

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