Going "Back to School" is a bit of a family affair for the Connors. Liam, Mike, and I went first, to preschool and in-services respectively. Liam is really doing well at his new preschool, and I no longer fear that I am going to get a phone call from a school director asking me to pick up my screaming child because his tantrums are threatening the safety of the other students. That is a great feeling, I'll tell you.
Gabrielle is living it up as the only Connor kid at Lyter Elementary, and really, as a third grader, she "didn't need to sit through the assembly about the rules uhhh-gain" because she "knows what to do, you know?" On the other hand, Aidan came home from his first day appalled by the principal's speech about "drugs, alcohol, suicide, and sexual harassment -- whatever that means!" because, after all, he is "just a kid who shouldn't even hear about that stuff." Aidan has had a high level of anxiety about middle school . . . since oh, June. But, the first two days have shown him that 1. He can open a locker (even if it's because the person who had his lock before him took a sharpie to the combination numbers) 2. He loves chorus and his sparkly teacher, and 3. He can change classes (aka walk across the hall to Science and Math). He's going to be alright, that one.
I have had the smoothest start to a school year ever -- I guess after 9 years, I should have this down pat, right? My AP and Honors English 11 classes are off to a strong start, and my Drama classes are huge and enthusiastic. This is my Drama (grades10-12) class on the first day. We were doing an icebreaker where you throw a ball of yarn around as you answer questions like "What was your favorite stage experience?" or "If you had 10 minutes left to live, what would you do?". The result was a nice visual reminder of the web-like connection we have as a class:
Throughout the summer, I have been directing Spamalot . . . and not having to really focus on any other work with any particular deadline. I've done a lot of school work and prep over the summer, but nothing that HAD to be done by a certain day or time. Now, my life once again becomes a slave to bell which subdivides my day into 45-minute increments of lessons and let's be real: performances in my classroom. It is ex.haust.ing. But I love it. I am so blessed to able to do what I do and get paid for it. Yes, there is a lot of pressure to get high test scores; yes, there is far too much drama in my community about our new high school building; yes, one cantankerous resident made a sign for his yard which proclaimed that Teachers were "over paid pieces of shit." But, I really wouldn't trade it for anything else at this point. (A college professorship one day, maybe . . . )
Back to that Spambot thing. In addition to directing the show at night after teaching all day, Aidan has been cast in the children's theatre show and has begun rehearsals. So, on my first day of school, I left the house at 7:15 AM with three kids in tow. I safely and successfully deposited them at three different schools before going to my own school. I taught all day, then took Aidan to the theatre, met Mike to hand off Gabrielle and say hello to Liam. I had a production meeting while Aidan had rehearsal, then directed a rehearsal of my own. I stumbled bleary-eyed into bed around 10, I think.
But this too shall pass. Spamalot runs the last two weeks of September and Aidan's show is the first week of October. We will adjust to our schedules and responsibilities soon enough. And before we know it, it will be June and we will wonder how we did all that we did. For now, we try to live in the moment, for that is really all we have.
Tonight, I had my girl at rehearsal, armed with a Starbucks steamer and a big cheesy smile. I'm really proud of this show and my hard-working cast. The process is my favorite part, but the end result of the audience absolutely loving the show will feel great, too.
So, here we are, Dear Reader. August -- my Happy New Year. A new school year, a new birth year (35 years young tomorrow), a new round of adventures. It's a great thing, isn't it? This life we each have.