this is always the time of the year that i can feel the routine sweeping in to our lives. gone are the long, lingering sunshine-filled days of summer, though they do seem to pepper september in a way that reminds you the sunscreen is in the top drawer by the front door. the daylight still has some summer intensity to it, but for the most part, september has a wind about it, the clouds roll through, and the leaves start to chatter. it’s not yet fall, and it’s no longer summer. instead, it’s back-to-school season.
it has all of us here at glassybaby reflecting back on our favorite rituals of this time of year. back-to-school shopping, in my early days when i was just the shrimp of the family, meant that my mother and i would hop in the car together, she the master of the list, i the master of the colors. folders, binders, rulers – she knew how many, and i would seek out the best colors. the most exciting item always was the box of crayons, or markers, or colored pencils. my siblings and i always had this sense that they yearned to be set free from their boxes and let loose on the page with strokes of excitement. my mom called all of our creations “art,” but we called it “fun,” and these masterpieces often found their home on our refrigerator.
the free museum that was our kitchen doubled as my father’s morning diner. the first day of school was a celebration, with my dad serving up his signature mini pancakes, cheesy eggs, and slices of apples and bananas to all of us who were about ready to go learn about the world. the chef always had a few surprises: chocolate chips, blueberries, and bananas hiding somewhere in those pancakes.
the morning ritual was never complete until my siblings and i all lined up against the wall on our way out the door. my mom, pencil in hand, seemed to hold the key to whether i was officially a “big kid,” or “teenager,” anything other than “shrimp!” one at a time, we would move our back to the wall, with our legs and spines outstretched as mightily as possible, and she would mark our height with our names and the date. i would jump around to see how much my bones had sprouted since the previous first day of school, pleasantly surprised to see the inches upward, and fiercely determined to make up the inches between my older brothers and me.
there was never too much time to dwell on the wall, though, because the bus rolled down sanborn road always a minute early, and my backpack would sway side-to-side as i rushed out the door to sit alongside my friends as we excitedly buzzed about the year ahead. we never mourned the end of summer: we were all swept up in the routine that september brought us, and the school year promised its own fun.
these rituals are unique to each of our families, but what they seem to share across families is how we all inherit them, passing them on to our own children. this back-to-school season is another way that our families define who we are and reveal where we came from.
all of us at glassybaby wish you the best back-to-school season – filled with your own rituals and perhaps creating a few new ones! which ones are you most fond of?