My niece Lola starts grade 5 next week, which is crazy, because last time I checked, she was like 2.5 and scarily obsessed with baby dolls.
Now it’s all iPod app this, One Direction that.
I remember my first day of grade 5 like it was yesterday. It was 1996, and in keeping with the fashion of the times, I sported a shiny new pair of black Doc Martens, a red and black plaid jumper, and, in flagrant disregard of my baby weight, a black turtleneck crop top I stole from my 25-year-old sister.
Rounding out the look was a god-awful scrunchie in the style set out below,
And a hideous backpack covered in un-funny comic strips. Obviously, this was not my choice. In fact, so badly did I want a pink and white Jansport, I staged a full-on meltdown in the back-to-school aisle of Eaton’s, the ill-fated Canadian retailer.
A no-nonsense kind of woman to her very core, my mother showed no remorse, placing the atrocity at the cash alongside a fresh package of slouchy socks.
At the age of 10, I was, to put it mildly, at an “Awkward Stage”. I was prepubescent, mildly overweight, and extremely clumsy, but somehow blissfully unaware of all of this. Despite rendering me complicit in more than one crime against fashion, my mom still managed to somehow instill in me a sense of unwavering- albeit false- confidence. I was led to believe that no one was better than me at anything- even Taekwondo (everyone was better than me at Taekwondo. If there was a demotion from white belt, I would have gotten it.)
Although I am continuing to deal with the repercussions of my inflated childhood ego (wait- not everybody loves me?), I am still thankful to her for this.
In defiance of all laws of the universe, I was also extremely pumped about going back to school. This is understandable though, because I was a weirdo.
As a young child, I was so excited to go to school that I would pace back and forth at the end of the driveway and wait for the bus to come at least 40 minutes before its designated arrival time. I maintained this silent bus vigil even in the dead of Canadian winter- hands wrapped in double-layer gloves, face obscured by cat-eared balaclava.
After concerned calls from the neighbors (“are you sure there’s nothing wrong with her, dear?”) my mother pleaded with me to stay inside, assuring me that I wouldn’t miss the bus; but I wasn’t having any of it. I’d heard the Kriss-Kross song. I wasn’t taking any chances.
This year was no different. At the end of July, I began collecting flyers from various stores and cross-referencing them against my ever-growing list of school supplies. By early August, I had completed an itemized list, by location, of where to find the best deals on each item. I presented this list to my mother, expecting her to be pleased with my due diligence, but instead she simply shook her head sadly and poured herself another cup of coffee.
After two weeks of my constant haranguing, we finally went shopping, and I spent a full day alone in my room, proudly labeling my multi-coloured duotangs, Five Star binders and purple LeKit.
It appears that my niece has somehow inherited this trait from me, as last week I received these pictures of her proudly holding up her new school supplies.
Never before have I been so proud!
Question of the Day: Were you excited to go back to school?
Daily Prompt: August Blues– As a kid, were you happy or anxious about going back to school? Now that you’re older, how has your attitude toward the end of the summer evolved?