Back to School

By Rebecca Thorsen / September 1, 2020

Since this year school for our children is anything but normal. I thought I would share my blog post from last year. I hope you all enjoy it. I also wish each and everyone of you a smooth transition to the abnormal that is the return to the academic year. 


Many kids have already started back to school; however, today is the official first day back to school for a lot of kids in America and I’ll bet the emotions over this day have run amok.

For all those returning back to school there was probably a bit of wailing and gnashing of teeth. Words like “oh mom do I really have to take the  school bus, can’t you just take me?” and “just five more minutes?” and “are you really going to make me wear that?” are just some of the things parents might hear, and the whole time they are smiling behind their cups of very robust coffee.

Another one of those back to school challenges is lunches. The first thing to overcome is the transition from ‘summer’ lunches. They can be anything from a PB&J on a paper napkin to a fried chicken supper at Nana’s house in Georgia. I know a lot of kids like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and I also know that many schools have issue with them because of children with peanut allergies. I have a relatively simple solution for this problem; have the kids clean up after themselves. I know what you’re going to say; “what if they don’t a good enough job and a bit of peanut butter is left?”. There is also a relatively simple solution to that as well. If the allergy inflicted kid doesn’t think the person before them did a good enough job, give it another once over with the wall dispensed towelette, then sit down and eat your lunch. This teaches kids to be both accountable and caring. A win / win for everyone.

The other lunch challenge is packed lunch vs school lunch. I have to say in my house we were a packed lunch family. You may think this was because it was “my way or the highway’, Wrong! The desire for home packed lunches came from our girls. They liked sandwiches that involved thin slices of turkey, sliced tomatoes, lettuce, sometimes sprouts (but not always) with a light amount of real mayo (let’s not forget the possible desire for French mustard or some wasabi). Other times they wanted to have a piece of leftover chicken with some of the homemade slaw that went with it. Are you seeing a pattern? Yes, I was a ‘no thank you bite mom’ so the girls were bit food snobbish. I really didn’t have a problem, because I always knew what they were eating. However, I know parents who have the oppose situation: Their kids only wanted school lunches.

For a while they could keep track of the lunches because menus were sent home, but once they went to middle school and high school it was much more difficult to keep track. Oh, the trials and tribulations of being a parent of school age kids!

Once lunches were taken care of, and they were convinced that they were not leaving the house in flip flops, shredded cut offs and sun-bleached beach tees, the only thing left to do was to take the ‘first day of school’ photo.     

That’s right, the ‘first day of school’ photo op. Those sleepy eyes and new outfits are forever locked in the timeless vault called – what else – ‘First Day of School Pictures’ that will later be pulled out for the MEM. The MEM’s (Most Embarrassing Moments) are pulled out for special occasions: The first dates, prom night, meeting the person they will someday marry, and oh yes let us not forget their own children, who I promise will laugh themselves sick. The MEM pictures will include all the naked baby photos, the whole pre-braces period, and every single “oh isn’t she cute” photograph ever taken.

All the ‘First Day of School Pictures’ began with that very first ‘first day of school’. Everyone remembers that day. If you are the child there are tears and trepidation, and if you are the parent there are tears and trepidation; however, we all somehow made it through the first day, both child and parent. Hopefully the parent stops crying by the time the child comes home and hands them their first school art masterpiece for the refrigerator MOMA (Museum of Modern Art). Don’t want the little angel thinking they aren’t the next Michelangelo they left school believing they were!

The day is completed with a snack bag and juice box and the stories of how wonderful Mr. or Ms. Phil InThe Blank was and how they can’t wait until tomorrow because the class pet rat, Ratatouille, is coming and they each get to hold it. Just remember to have hand sanitizer ready and waiting when they walk through the door.

Don’t forget to email Mr. or Ms. Phil InThe Blank and ask them for your first (and hopefully last!) photo of your beloved child with (nasty stinky) Ratatouille (the rat!), because you never know when a picture of your toothless child and the rat will come in handy.

If your children make too much of a fuss about what you’re having them wear on the first day of school, you can always show them the pictures that Nana took of you on your first day of school. Let the hysterical laughter begin!

About the author

Rebecca Thorsen