Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - Aug. 22, 2002

School daze

School started for the girls last week, but the routine hasn't kicked in yet - for them or us. Both girls still want to stay up until midnight or past and then sleep in each morning, a schedule they began with their cousins over the summer. I can't say that I blame them. If I had a choice, I'd still be the night owl I was when I was a teenager. I don't do mornings very well.

Last Friday - the first day of school for Riley County - Art and I continued our annual tradition of documenting the event by videotaping and taking still shots of the girls standing by the front door, getting on the bus at the corner, and getting off the bus at school.

The difference this year was that Mariya, who turned 16 in July, wanted to drive. That meant she got up about half an hour later than the rest of us since she didn't have to meet the bus. It also meant that it was the first year I didn't photograph the two girls together on the front steps and at the corner waiting for the bus. So we got pictures of Katie doing the routine thing and Mariya standing by her car. It was just a gentle little reminder to me that changes come more quickly than we sometimes like to acknowledge them.

When I was a student, I liked the first day of school, but the excitement I felt was mixed with a healthy dose of nervousness. "What will my teachers be like?" "Will I still be friends with the same people?" "Will I understand the many assignments I'll be asked to complete?"

I suppose our girls had some of the same questions, but they seem to be more confident than I was at their age. Neither struggled over what to wear that first morning or whether they thought their friends would be there for them.

When they returned from school, Mariya was tired, but she seemed happy with her day. She explained that she had attended all her classes that day, but starting this week, they'll have block scheduling where they have certain classes on "blue days" and the rest of their classes on "white days." I remember thinking her freshman year that I was going to keep track of which days were which on her schedule, but I gave up after about the first week.

Katie - who wants to be called Katherine at school - was excited and chatty. "We got new science books this year and they're so pretty and we get to write our names in them first. I like my teacher, she's nice. Recess was fun. We had a good lunch - let's see, we had ham sandwiches and chips and milk or juice. Some of the kids don't remember where they put their recorders and music books, but I remember so I think I'll practice right now."

The yearly race has begun once again. The girls are already headed down the track, but I think I'm still at the starting gate.

Katie heads off to school on the bus - called the big cheese wagon by big sis Mariya, who
drove to school. Katie started fourth grade and Mariya started her junior year.

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