Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Back to School

For the first time in 22 years I do not have a child returning to public school. As of May of this year they have all graduated and moved on to other pursuits.  I have this empty feeling even though my nest is not technically empty.  [My son is disabled and will not be able to live on his on in the foreseeable future.]  To help alleviate the weirdness, I gathered all the unused school supplies from past years around the house and donated them to a program for kids in need.

But there is something about the appearance of school supplies in the stores that gives me this rush from the possibilities of new beginnings. I've had that feeling since I was a small child.  I began attending schoool at the age of 5 (43 years ago) and either I have been returning to school or I have had a child going to school since then (I'm counting my college years as well). At the end of every summer we'd buy school supplies, some new clothes, and a new pair of shoes. And I'd sit there looking over it all and think to myself, this is the year where everything will be different.  I did well in school mostly (math was my only problem) and I always looked forward to learning.  School was also my escape from an abusive home life.  The only problem was that at school I'd also have to deal with bullies along with my own self-doubts.  Every year I'd buy the school supplies and think that maybe this year things/people might change and I'd make a few friends and things wouldn't be so harsh.  

It never really changed.  I never fit in.  I was this odd duckling that only the teachers seemed to have an affinity for - I was quiet, polite, and did well in most classes (even in the ones I didn't do well in they could tell that I was really trying).  Still, even with the bullies, school was better than home 90% of the time. I still don't fit in really.  There's something broken inside of me that prevents me from being normal in many social situations.

And that feeling stays with me. I look in the mirror and see wrinkles forming but inside of me is that little girl who has hope and wonder that new experiences, new people, new knowledge is just around the corner. The expectation that change is part of reality.