Thursday morning and I’ve made my traditional first of school trip to the Mineola Primary School to see the smiling teachers and crying mommies and daddies. (I’m not making fun – I was there once too.) My shoes are now situated in front of my tiny space heater to dry out from this morning’s trek in the downpour.
I’ve heard lots of people talk about not remembering an August this rainy. I do remember another rainy first day of school when I saw Mineola Superintendent Kim Tunnell walking a little tyke in under an umbrella. That was the picture that got away that year. This year, as I was walking out of the end of the building I saw a mom toting something. It took a couple of seconds to take in what she was carrying. It was swathed in black and at first appeared to be a car seat and something else. Then I realized she had a little (but not all that little) girl in a black jacket grasped under her arms and was toting her across the driveway in a motherly effort to keep her feet from getting wet.
It was such a small thing, but the mom carrying her daughter over the water made an impression on me. She was thinking of her child’s welfare, trying to keep her new-looking little pink sneakers out of the water and preventing her from enduring her first day of school with cold, soggy feet. It probably wasn’t all that easy. She wasn’t a large woman, the mother, and the daughter wasn’t a tiny child.
This morning I spent a little time perusing social media and looking at folks’ first day of school posts. We always did those too, except they went on our refrigerator. Now they go on social media.
It’s a different world as an empty-nester. There are lots of things I miss, but some others I really don’t. One is the scavenger hunt for school supplies. Inevitably there would be something on the list that, if you were lucky you’d find in a small stash on a shelf in Walmart or the Dollar Store. Oftentimes we had to go to Tyler for things.
I’ve seen the parents wandering, heads down as they walk, studying the supply lists in the stores. Poor souls, I think. This too shall pass. But it’s one of the many countless quiet sacrifices some parents make for their offspring. My heart goes out to them for their efforts.
On this first day of school in the Mineola School District where they’re starting a little earlier than some other schools because they’re a District of Innovation, I know there are parents who will be investing much more in the development of a future human being to become a contributing member of society. I want to tell them, take the job seriously. It will be one of the most important, if not the most important, jobs you ever undertake. And yes, I do believe it takes a village to raise a child. I’m thankful we have such a good village.