All around, it's the first day of school. I heard the bus outside before 7 a.m. I saw a mom snap a photo just before her son boarded the big yellowish-orange school bus. I was too far away to see if she was tearing up as she waved. You may think he was a kindergarten, but I'm almost certain this is his first day of 8th grade. I guess the point is, you're always "mama's baby."
I love buying school supplies. My sister and I used to help dad at the Liberty bookstore with bookrush (when students bought textbooks) and we'd get "paid" by picking out a brand new Jansport backpack. You got a list from the school of the things you needed and everything was new. Pencils - get the mechanical that don't need to be sharpened. Pens - I had to have at least one purple one. Paper and 3-ring binder - purple was preferable, but it also needed a clear sleeve on the front for personalizing with pictures and stickers. I admit - I can still be seen visiting the school supplies aisle at Walmart and I have no need for any of it.
I hated cafeteria food and blessed to have a mom who packed my lunch everyday. I would proudly pick out a square plastic lunchbox - usually a Disney-related theme. Each day my napkin would boast a handwritten love note or message of encouragement, usually with some kind of a smiley or silly face, from my mom. My friends didn't make fun of me - it was a tradition. And sometimes she even wrote notes to them, too. Oh, I should also add that the lunchbox carrying and notes from home were all during my high school years. Believe me, I did set a new trend! :)
Of course the all-important outfit was the biggest decision of them all. As kids we would go to "Hills" department store and pick out clothes in spring that we'd put on layaway and those were our new outfits we could anticipate for fall. By the time I reached middle school and high school, I had enough babysitting income to be able to purchase my own duds. A love for clothes and fashion has always been in me. It needed to be casual and cute, not overdone, but something to stand out. Heaven forbid you end up matching someone else on the first day of school!
I was the kid who cried on the last day of school. I enjoyed summer break, but I loved school much more. I was a good student but I really wasn't that cool so I'm not sure why I enjoyed it so much. Regardless, I looked forward to the first day of school - just like January 1 - a new beginning, a new year, a new opportunity.
I love new beginnings for the hope that they bring. I'm not trying to over-spiritualize this. I just love what a new year brings.