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  • Writer's picture Jana

Back to School, Already? What About Labor Day?

Some things never change, such as how quickly the summer flies by. Whether you are a student, or the parent of a student(s), the feeling is the same. You blink and the summer is over. Well, that's not exactly true. You blink, it's the Fourth of July, and the evil advertisers start torturing you with back-to-school Target ads. Then you blink again and school is starting.

Since summer break seems to perpetually shrink, the situation has grown more dire than when I was in school. The school districts seem to summoning the kids back to school earlier and earlier each year. In some districts, it is bordering on obscene. For example, LAUSD, the largest district in Los Angeles, requires students to return a full week to ten days before our district does. I feel fortunate that we don't have to go back that early (the second week in August), but that is little consolation when the temperatures are in the triple digits, as they were today, and the beaches are just starting to see their best days of the summer.

What happened to going back to school after Labor Day? Is there any civility left in society at all? Everyone I talk to opines that they wish we could go back to the way things used to be, with kids returning to school in September. Be that as it may, that dream never seems to materialize and I am beginning to lose hope that it ever will. So every year, as we return to school, I complain about the oppressive August heat (not that September is any better in California with climate change, honestly) and drone on about how things were so much better when I was a child, when we returned to school after Labor Day.

We officially started school last Wednesday. However, the school district started calling us back a full week before that, for registration day, picture day, and any other excuse they could find to rob us of one more week of our already shortened summer break. At least starting on a Wednesday allows for a short first week, which shows some level of humanity on their part. It's the proverbial toe in the water, which I greatly appreciate.

Prior to starting, there were new backpacks and school supplies to be purchased; driving logistics to three separate schools to be figured out, and last-minute class schedule changes to be made. On the first day of school, there were alarm clocks going off in the wee hours of the morning; breakfast and lunches to be made; and school buses to be caught. There is still (lots) of back-to-school clothing shopping to be done, but that will take place over Labor Day weekend when the sales are on. Hello, that's why you don't start school until after Labor Day!

Last week, Miles entered third grade and got the same wonderful teacher, Ms. Simon, that the twins had for third grade. Garin entered tenth grade and has a courseload that would make your head spin (including an additional seventh class he takes outside of school, Spanish III). The twins started middle school, which is a big deal! Like Garin, they are in the GATE program and got the same excellent teacher that Garin had when he was in sixth grade, Mrs. Rinaldi, for three of their six periods.

Like last year, Catherine, Graham, and I walk to school in the morning. Only now, we drop Miles off first and then Catherine, Graham, and I walk back to their bus stop, which is conveniently located in Hidden Hills, a stone's throw from Miles' school. I drop them there where they wait for their bus to pick them up. Garin has door-to-door bus service, provided by our school district, which is a godsend for me.

As much as I fight the start of school, it doesn't take me long to settle into the new routine and see that I too need a break. The kids return to school and I can start to tackle some of the many, long-overdue projects that are staring at me, day-after-day. The house is quiet during the day, which is calming for me. I miss the kids and they miss me, but I have to admit that there are good things too about this yearly migration back to school. Every day can't be summer vacation, I tell myself. Or can it?

A nutricious breakfast is a must at our house on school days.

The obligatory back-to-school portrait.

Miles is now flying solo at Round Meadow. At one time I had four kids there, so it is bittersweet for me to only have one remaining.

I walk the twins to the Little Red Bus Stop in Hidden Hills every day after we walk Miles to school. I am grateful that we can still have our morning walks together.

A little walk down memory lane....our back-to-school portrait from 2017. Time flies by, indeed!

A Final Note: We were so saddened to receive the news of the passing of Garin's wonderful principal, Dr. Stephanie McClay, just a week or so before the start of school. Dr. McClay was diagnosed with cancer last January and passed away just seven months later. She was an incredible principal and a mother to two children herself. Dr. McClay was only 56 years old when she passed. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.


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