I open the mail. It’s a letter with the orientation time for my pre1A-er. (In Lakewood, is it Primary-er?). In a few days, I will be holding her hand and walking her to the door. She will walk away herself, into the BIG building, with the BIG girls, with her knapsack and cutest new uniform on, with little loafers, with her matching little knee socks.
And I will be saying goodbye not only to her….but also to her toddlerhood.
I will shed a tear. Probably more than one. But if you ask my kids, they’ll tell you that's pretty standard for me.
There’s excitement in the air. From nursery through 12th (and the same with sending our children off to Seminary/Yeshiva/College/Shidduchim/Marriage).
This anticipation isn’t for something familiar. This excitement on the first day of school is a weird type of excitement. It’s for the unfamiliar. It’s for newness. It’s an excitement mixed with fear and hopefulness.
We can’t really explain this feeling with words, but we all share this familiar unfamiliar feeling. Including the principals, the teachers, the administrators and the school therapists. (I’m not sure if that’s confidential info but it’s the truth peeps, it’s the truth.)
A core childhood memory of mine is preparing my school supplies the night before the First Day. There is nothing like a new brand supply box. (In fact, as I’m writing this, I’m getting so in the mood to buy myself a new supply box this year.) With new markers and highlighters and scissors and post it notes. And pens! Omg, I love pens. I still have my favorite pen. And that favorite pen, which I’m quite attached to, brings me back to the first day of school. Over and over again.
This pen brought me security in the newness. The security that although I can’t control who I will sit next to in class and what the new bathroom policy will be, and how I will connect with the teacher, at least I will still have my brand new pens.
Actually, true story. On the first day of Seminary, I had a package of new pens, of course. Mostly black, but a few red and blue to ease the note taking process. And my good friend leaned over and asked me if she could borrow my pen. And I was like, “Sure ofc. Take my pen, with pleasure.” The next day, I kinda chuckled and said “hey, where’s my pen?” And I will never forget her response and she will never forget mine. She was like “You’re joking. You’re usually so chilled! You know a pen is not something that needs to be returned, right? It’s obvious. Ask anyone! Pens are never returned! I just left it on the desk yesterday…”
And I was like “😳! It’s not just a pen, you little…! It’s my sense of security that brings me back to familiarity.”
All I could think about was my American pen that I brought with me from home. With an extra fine tip. The ones you can’t get in Israel. The ones that served as my security blanky overseas.
So as you pack all the new school supplies, realize that these precious supplies will serve as their personal “blanky”, as transitional objects that will signal a little love ❤️, a little security and a BIG hello from their familiar home as they enter the New and Unfamiliar year.
Cheers to New Beginnings!
… and new pens!
P.S. https://amzn.to/3KPmT5b link to the Best. Pen. Ever.