Friday, August 31, 2018

On Other First Days

Okay, so... how's everyone doing?  Good.  It's back to school season and the parent bloggers and memeists (one who memes) are out in full force with their "first day of school" posts and such and well...  WTF!?

I googled "back to school memes+parents" and I just, well, can't.  This is the very first one that popped up:

Here's another from an article in the bastion of enlightenment and truth, The Huffington Post - you know, the folks who don't pay for content.  Apparently, a blogger mommy posted this on her FB page:

(I think I'm supposed to give her credit or something...)  ((The more I look at this the angrier I become - "Favorite Summer memory: Today!"  What?!  It's just, well, disrespectful...))

There are hundreds more, most involve wine and celebrating, one said all the women in Target on the first day of school had wine in their baskets, ha-ha.  If you don't know what I'm talking about just google it, but, I'd guess you've seen a million of them this last week.

That vast majority of them are basically this, I couldn't wait to get rid of my kids because the were driving me nuts and/or I am so glad they are gone so I can daydrink again.  They're supposed be funny and light-hearted but I don't think they are.  I don't think they are even clever, or well-rendered or... worthy.  Plainly stated they are tropes, which MW defines as "a common or overused theme or device," you know, like the bumbling idiot dad - a trope used often by the same kind of bloggers.

I've called folks on them and complained about them on their FB pages but everyone's britches get in a bind because they were "only kidding" or "it's just a joke" and "like you don't feel the same way."  Yeah... well, I don't.

And even if I did, I wouldn't let my boys know that.

Listen, I get it, truth be told, at thirteen, twin boys can be, well... a lot.  Their friends come over quite a bit and they are loud and obnoxious and messy and big.  They crack couch frames and stain carpets and the socks, my God, the socks.  There is taking them to the pool and driving them to this and that and feeding them all the time and... yes, it's difficult and consuming. But, it's what I signed up for, it's my damn job.

I am about to paint myself in a corner here and, well, I shouldn't.  I am sure many parents are glad their kids are back in school - dual income parents, single moms and dads and others.  Frankly, I look forward to the silence and time to myself.

As parents we are constantly sending our kids away, ushering them into the future, showing them what's next.  Perhaps, this is what all the celebrating is, or should be, them going into another year of the adventure that is life.

And, even though it may seem contradictory, right now, our kids need to know they are safe and secure and, well, wanted at home.  That's what I meant before when I said 'worthy.'  Our sons and daughters are better than a trope about how happy we are to have them gone, better than the notion that we have to drink to get over them, or that they cast undo hardship on us, that they are a burden.

What are the children of all these memists going to think - what do they think - when they encounter, now or in the future, these images, often of them, which seem only too mock them, to make them the butt of a joke?  I think it's something to think about.

Here's a back to school meme I made:

Sorry, that noise was me putting my soapbox away...

I took a look back at my first day of school posts over the years to make sure I wasn't guilty of this thinking and I thought I'd share them.
My first attempt was in 2012 and featured the two handwritten notes the boys wrote for their teachers that year.  It's called "I'm Varey Icesited To Meat You" and it's really quite adorable.

In 2013, I wrote this lackluster post out of a feeling of necessity.  I probably shouldn't of but, and this might be important, I do not go back and edit any of the old post around here - short of a grammatical error here and there.  It's titled "Post Gaps" and I don't actually hate it, I mean its pretty honest.

I'd say this one, "What to do on the First Day of School" from 2014, is my favorite.

I wrote "Touched Stones and Penciled Lines" in 2015.  It's sort of odd.  I start with a story about three different boys in three different times and the things they carried and cherished and then I share some love notes and sage wisdom (I wish).  It's funny, I like the post but very few have ever seen it... not that it matters.

In 2016, I wrote "The Loud Stuff" about a young scared and excited boy, me, heading to his first day of school and another nervous and anxious boy, Nick, whose worries get a bit loud in his head.  You've been there I'd guess, but I found N's awareness of it interesting and, well, good.  You need to listen to the loud stuff, and to the quiet between.

I didn't post much last year, hardly at all, truth be told, so there's not one for 2017.  I guess this piece, "Forward Looking Back", from December is about as close as I got.

From Marci's "...things you don't expect to hear from the backseat..."

"Bacon heals."

Subject, verb.  Show me a better sentence.

Thanks for stopping by, sorry I got all riled up there for a second... ya'll know how I get.



  1. Good for you, Bill!!

  2. Yes, Bill, each year is a new beginning for all children whether as students or as children. I have a double outlook on the first day of school. As a parent I could only hope the year would be a good one for both my children and for me. As a teacher I worried for days about making a good impression on my students in the hope they would want to learn and would gain something from being in my classroom. I can't ever remember actually feeling glad that school was starting. To this day I feel guilty when the big yellow buses begin to roll and I can't be a part of it. You said it well.