This isn’t your typical first-day-of-school recollection story.
Nope. It’s not really about what I remembered that day, but about what he found important. An experience valuable enough to be tucked away into the vast recesses of his five-year-old mind.
In our family, we have a “First Day of School” tradition. After school, we go out for a treat and everyone gets to talk about their day. Last year, I picked up my baby from kindergarten and – per his request – headed off to find the biggest and best sprinkled donut in our city.
“Tell me about your day!” I cooed, trying to play cool, but squirming with suspense on the inside.
He nibbled gently on the vanilla icing that had dripped down the side of his pastry.
“Well…” he answered slowly, clearly not sensing the urgency in his mother’s voice. He paused to pick up the few multi-colored sprinkles that had tragically fallen off his coveted treat and popped them one-by-one past his sugar-smeared lips.
He continued, “Well, something interesting DID happen at lunch today.”
This was it. He was about to spill his innermost feelings of courageously making it through the first long, hard kindergarten day.
“There was this thing…. It was kinda like a spoon on the bottom, but on the top – Mom, on the top, IT WAS A FORK! They call it a SPORK!” And with that, he continued the sloth-like consumption of his goodie.
That was….not what I expected. He had gone through the whole day filled with new experiences and unfamiliar activities, but the thing that grabbed his attention and was found most newsworthy was the Almighty Spork.
As parents, we tend to focus on things we think they’ll remember, but it’s often the intangibles – the side-notes – that make the headlines of their memories.
“School may look a little different this year” is a statement making the rounds this fall.
A little? How about entirely different! I’ve realized we as parents really notice and feel those differences, but we are resilient and so are our kids. What a great opportunity to learn, develop, and model stick-to-itiveness!
Our younger kids likely won’t remember the school day experiences they didn’t get to have – the “normal things” that we as parents were looking forward to for them. Instead, they’ll laugh about the teacher’s dog snoring during the math lesson on their Google Meet. They’ll recall lunchtime discussions about Star Wars with their middle school siblings that they otherwise wouldn’t see during the day. They’ll celebrate the fact that when they finished the online assignment early, they got to squeeze in a couch-football game before the next class session. And those are just distance learning examples!
Let’s choose to not get so caught up in “what’s not the same” that we miss some of the peripheral magic that is happening. Let’s try to live the moments out as they happen – unexpected and all.
Ask them how school is going. Listen to their stories. Let the Almighty Spork have its hour of fame. It just might be the best thing that’s happened to them today.