I've spent some time thinking about this the last couple of days and I guess for me there is only one first day of school that stands out. I was going into my sophomore year at Bradshaw High School and was dreading it. Freshman year had been an endless nightmare filled with enough torture to make even the most staunch patriot crack. Name calling, fights, money stolen, crammed in garbage cans; the only thing I learned that year was to blend into the background. A skill which proved to be an asset then and later during those years I should have been trying to stand out; a liability. A crutch I would use to get me through any uncomfortable situation.
I remember sophomore year because it was the year I met Party Man. Party Man's schedule matched mine almost exactly and we quickly became friends. I was the Ed McMahonn to his Johny Carson. The Robin to his Batman. The Willow to his Buffy. He was the show and I was the audience that followed behind constantly clapping. For the next several years Party Man pretty much set the tone for my social life. I was still getting picked on and threatened on a regular basis, still getting thrown into garbage cans, and embarrassed beyond belief for hours on end, but Party Man was always there to throw me an invite to the coolest party. If it wasn't for my friend Party Man there's no telling if I would have made it out of high school.
Last night as I lay there struggling to go to sleep on the eve of Adam's first day of first grade and Alex's first day in his new preschool class at The Hill, those images of high school returned. I flipped and flopped all night long, bit off every fingernail & more that I had, and dreaded today as if I were the one starting the new school for the first time. My boys are so much like me. The way they look. The things they say with a dry wit. They are obsessive and compulsive and creative....and last night all I could do was pray that when it came to making friends and fitting in at school, they would turn out to be like their mother. The most popular and amazing person ever to walk through the halls of Coffee High School.