Labor Day evening. As a child, I remember it well. All the anticipation of a new school year about to begin the next day. Yet much has changed in the many years since I attended school. Public school here in Lexington, Kentucky, began before mid August. My son started classes at the University of Louisville last week. Fall semester is underway weeks before autumn actually hits.
I’ve grown used to the schedule. What choice do I have? Although this year….this year, it’s much different, as daughter Allie is a foreign exchange student in the Czech Republic. She actually started her junior year of high school today. Her new school, located in Ostrava, began its fall semester on September 1. Whether the Czech folks realize it’s Labor Day in America matters not.
I am not sure why, but Allie only had to spend one hour in school today. I believe tomorrow will be a longer day. With the time difference, her day begins before I am awake. And she hits the hay before I eat dinner.
Meanwhile, this is the first year since 2000 I do not have a child participating in the local school system. It’s an adjustment. I did not receive a copy of the Fayette County Public Schools calendar I have posted by my desk at work for years. School buses drive around town, but none carry a child of mine. Football games are still played, and the marching bands still march. And a whole new group of teenagers is concerned about ACTs and college applications. Just not either of mine. Not this year.
I’ll get one more year. The 2015-16 school year will officially be my last. Allie will return for her senior year. And I’ll once again get a copy of that calendar. And drop a kid off to watch a Friday night football game.
Yet for the time being, it’s all wildly odd and I feel out of place. I took my son grocery shopping in Louisville today before saying good bye after the long weekend. He now plans his own menus. He cooks his own food. If his toilet is going to be clean, it’s up to him. When did this happen?
Don’t get me wrong. It’s a great feeling knowing one child is successfully navigating through his second year of college. He has good things on the horizon. It’s comforting to know my daughter is secure enough to fly half way around the world and study for a school year in Europe.
It’s just that back to school means something different this year. And while that’s alright, it’s an adjustment.