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The first day of school comes with many traditions. The backpack fairy visits. Last night she came early. I was sure someone would come downstairs and get a sneak peek. Sure enough Gwen snuck down ninja style and saw the gifts before we could stop her, much less know she was even there! Gwen and Parker both got laptop desks so they can do their homework anywhere in the house. They both prefer anywhere but the desks set aside for homework. Gavin got a timer. He is very smart but lacks focus. The hope is the timer will help him stay on task.

Last night Heath gave all the kids a father’s priesthood blessing. This is something they all look forward to. Gwen couldn’t wait for her dad to come home. Poor guy was stuck on BART for another two hour commute home. A week ago he woke up early and then spent the entire extra time (two hours) on BART trying to get into work. There was an earthquake soon after he boarded the train. I didn’t even feel it. Yesterday there was another suicide on the tracks. Heath got home with enough time to shove lasagna in his face and rush Gavin off to the shoe store for running shoes. Gwen must not have realized they left. When I told her that her dad wasn’t home she was concerned she wouldn’t get her blessing. I assured her it would happen later when they got back.

I’m really glad things worked out the way they did. The running shoes were supposed to be a birthday present for Gavin. We wanted to wait until closer to school starting because the kid keeps growing so fast. Then we kept forgetting to go. Cross Country starts on Monday so really we still had time. I’m glad Heath made it happen last night. He took Gavin to a place highly recommended by friends who run. When they got home Gavin came out to the gazebo to show me his new shoes. They are really nice. He learned a lot of tips for taking good care of his really nice shoes. Since the other two were inside watching TV we took advantage of having Gavin all to ourselves. We talked to him about his hopes and dreams for school and his fears and pet peeves. It was a good discussion. It set the tone perfectly for his priesthood blessing. We took him upstairs alone for his blessing.

Then we called the other two into our room, one at a time. We had similar discussions with each kid and ended with the blessing. It was really nice to isolate each child. I think we had better discussion because there were no distractions or interruptions. The conversation went the way each child needed.

Everyone woke up early this morning. Nervous energy got us through the morning routine much faster than usual. The kids were so excited for school. Of course I took everyone outside for pictures. (long story but I will post them later) Then we were off to school. That’s when I saw the low tire warning. Of course! First day of school equals weird car problem. My tires aren’t flat. I was able to hit the grocery store after dropping off kids. The low tire didn’t prevent me from picking them up after school. At least that.

Gwen’s teacher greeted us in line. She remembered me from when she taught Gavin in second grade. She said she didn’t even know I had another little one. Gwen was all of two years old when Gavin was in second grade. Apparently there are four returning families this year. Teachers like that. It’s fun to teach younger siblings. Parents were invited into the classroom for a few minutes. That’s when she announced this is her last first day of school. She is retiring at the end of the year. Of course she is. It’s amazing to me how often we have had teachers announce their end of year retirement. Is it us? Something about my family that burns through teachers? I don’t know. I have less of a complex when the teacher says it the first day of school. It’s the ones who wait until mid-year that make me wonder. Maybe it’s not a bad thing though. Maybe the teachers realize my kids are so spectacular that they may as well retire. No other student will ever surpass the joy of my children!

New and very annoying tradition is that the first three weeks of school are a logistical scheduling nightmare. Three kids, two schools, three different schedules. *sigh* I remembered to pick up Gwen from the front of the school at 2:15 since the back gates are not open until 3:00. Well you get that many lower grade parents in the front parking lot to pick up their kids and parking spots fill up quickly. So quickly in fact that I had to park in a cul de sac two streets away and walk in. I looked and looked for Gwen but couldn’t see her through the sea of parents. I saw her teacher marching to the front gates but I never did see Gwen. I tried to move up closer to the gates only to see she was definitely not there. Her teacher saw me and asked me where Gwen was. She assured me Gwen came with the group. She seemed more upset than I was. I knew Gwen was there and I had a sneaking suspicion she had walked to the back of the school to find me since that’s where she’s supposed to be once the staggered schedule officially starts. Thankfully she walked back to the front and I spotted her before her tears started.

We walked to the van and waited forever to merge into traffic. Then we drove to the back of the school in preparation to pick up Parker in 30 minutes. As we walked across the street to go to the park, Gwen’s friend saw us. She joined us at the park with her family. Her mom watched a bunch of kids while a couple of us moms went back to the school to get our older kids. I ran into a friend who said she completely forgot about the weird schedule for the first three weeks. She knew the schedule wasn’t staggered but assumed the lower grades just stayed all day. The school called her to pick up her daughter. She was so confused! “She’s supposed to come home with her brother!” It took a minute for her to realize that they get out 45 minutes apart.

Highs reached the low 90’s today. Not super hot but hot enough to feel like the first day of school. The forecast shows highs in the 80’s for the next week or so. That won’t be so bad. We went out tonight for our first day tradition of going out to eat. It’s the first day of school, let someone else cook and clean up.