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Summer's end brings another fresh start
By MICHELE MILLER, Times Staff Writer
Published August 20, 2007
It might not feel like it, and the calendar doesn't say so - at least not officially till Sept. 23.
But for the school-bound in my house, summer is well on its way to being a distant batch of memories. Of very late nights and lazy mornings. That 10-hour road trip to the mountains. Punch buggies and the licence plate game. Waterfalls, hiking and over-priced ice cream cones at the tourist trap. Not-so-great movies. The summer reading list, the AP English work that's due today and probably a little too much procrastination about that kind of stuff.
Now, once again, it's the first day of school for my two daughters, who are five years apart. They're being handed that fresh start, a clean slate. Back in the saddle.
You know the drill.
As with a lot of folks, this year's school start comes with a special milestone for our family. Over the years we've racked up a few. We count, collect and celebrate these momentous junctures that come along, it seems, just to remind us that life keeps rolling on. There's the first day of preschool, kindergarten and middle and high school. The first tooth to come in. First to lose. First band and chorus concert. The first kid to graduate from high school and, more recently, college.
So now it is off to middle school for the youngest. She's "the last one," "the baby" whose place in the family makes her the keeper of forever goodbyes to things like binkies and bottles, Barbie and Polly Pocket and, not so long ago, fifth grade and elementary school.
Okay, so considering the whole toy recall debacle, I'm rather relieved about the departures of Barbie and Polly.
On the other hand, the realization that elementary school is over and done with in my house has hit a little hard. Even had my eyes welling up in the middle of a department store last week when it dawned on me that this was the first time in nearly 20 years that crayons weren't on our school-supply list.
Thankfully, as happens in families, the baby will always be the baby no matter what.
This one even has a couple of her baby teeth to lose yet, not counting the "wisdom" variety. And yes, there's still money to be exchanged when that happens, though gone are the clandestine, middle-of-the-night ventures for the tooth fairy, who's more likely to suggest that the baby simply toss her own tooth and "put it on my tab."
And the baby, well, she's okay with that in a grown-up kind of way. Especially since she's good at collecting come payday. She knows how to keep count. Learned that during her elementary school years.
There's more of that learning to come - in middle school, high school, maybe in college and even long after that when she's saying things like, "If I knew then what I know now ..." on a regular basis.
So yes, this is another first day. One that brings the promise of forever learning and some very wistful beginnings.
Michele Miller can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6251 or toll free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6251. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.