September, that lovely season of crisp breezes, falling leaves and back to school. This year has been different. I have a high school freshman for the first time since I was one. This week was curriculum night, where the parents go through an abbreviated version of their child’s schedule, meet the teachers, get an overview of the class material, ask questions. His world is very different from the one I grew up in. For instance, my high school was almost 400 students when I entered; he has more than 400 in his entering class. Even in 9th grade, most faces I passed in the halls were familiar, many said hello as I passed. His experience feels a bit like my freshman college year, actually – awash in a sea of unknown faces, wrestling through crowds to get to a classroom and take lecture notes. It’s daunting for someone with my experience, and down right terrifying if you think about it too much. But there are bright lights. Curriculum night, for example. I’m pretty sure we never had that, and if we did, my parents didn’t go. Clubs galore. I suppose when your school community is pushing 1700, there are a lot of interests. Many of the clubs I’ve never heard of, many others are brazen big brothers of what I knew. Our cheerleaders, for instance, also ran pep club (what there was of one) and were also in charge of concessions at games. The gymnastics team worked out in the wrestling room (stinky!) often right after the wrestlers had been in there. There were 2 entrances on our building. This one has 37… or something ridiculous.
But the feelings are the same. It immediately sent me back to those same old high school feelings and whirling through nostalgia for about 3 days after that curriculum night. I’ve been thinking about old classmates and team mates, many of whom I’ve since reconnected with on Facebook. Some who are now gone. I remembered through my teachers and coaches, ever grateful for the experiences they imparted to me. Homecoming revelry, team cheers, classic novels and final papers. That damn wallflower story the headmaster told every year…. And through the haze of nostalgia, as I sat in my son’s seat, his teachers impressed me. The curriculum too. He’s almost done with the JV tennis season already. Homework doesn’t seem as hard as last year. He’s confident… maybe more so than I am (is this where the, “gees, Mom” starts?). I think he’s going to do all right.