Back to School Memories

Phyllis Lifestyle 32 Comments

“Back to School”—those words alone send chills down my spine. This year my little grandson is going to 5-year kindergarten and will be there all day: 8:00 to 3:00. Seriously? I can already see my bed-head sleepy boy trying to get up, get dressed, force down breakfast, and reluctantly go to school knowing that playtime is now restricted to the afternoon.


It was that way when Eric and Brian were in school. I dreaded the start of school. Of course, we had the requisite parent/teacher meetings, room mother assignments, and school clothes requirements. I was laughing today with a friend who has a child now in junior high school. Oh my, I remember those days as being the worst years with my boys. They didn’t like anything, and they didn’t really want to acknowledge that they had parents. You know, drop them at the street three blocks from the school, don’t come for lunch, and don’t wave or speak in front of friends. Fortunately that changes back in high school.

One morning during their junior high school days, they came to the breakfast table just arguing with each other and with me. This had become a pattern that I just didn’t like. I like “happy” in the morning that will set the tone for the day, especially when you are parting. Well it was one of those “I have had it” days, and so I told them that since they choose to ruin my day, today I was going to ruin theirs. Right over their heads…no reaction. As the unpleasantness continued and we loaded up for school, I had my plan.

As we neared the school, rather than slowing down at the “three block drop off,” I sped right up to the front door much to their dismay. I told them goodbye, and as they were closing the doors, I rolled down the windows and screamed, “Bye babies! Momma loves you!”

As I drove off I saw two boys running for the building like Olympic sprinters. When I drove up that afternoon to pick them up, they were hiding behind the columns looking to see if I had any more tricks up my sleeves. I simply smiled when they got in and asked, “Now, are we going to have any more unpleasant mornings?” No ma’am. And the rest of their school careers, breakfasts were fun and we parted ways on a happy note. Drastic times call for drastic measures—or very creative mothering.

That story is true, and my sons at 33 years old still remember it vividly. When it’s time to go back to school, well sometimes you just have to use your intuition to make things work.

Do you have any funny stories about back to school times in your life?


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Comments 32

  1. As a Mom of 4, now all grown up boys, I could fill a book with crazy stories! One thing we always did was take a first day of school pic. Senior year we also snapped a last day of school pic. So fun to see the first day of kindergarten pic along side of the last day of high school in their scrapbook. Ok, I’ll be honest. It always brought a tear to my eyes! Loved all the stories here!!

  2. I remember those days all to well. I remember one time I was driving my youngest son somewhere & he told me if we pass anyone he knew I was to duck!! I told him, “sorry pal. I can’t duck when driving but I can pull over & let you walk.” We continued on our way without incident.

  3. Love your story…SO something I would do and come to think of it think I have done, lol. Oh boy…does this bring it all back. This year will be a tough one, no back to school rituals for us, as my baby heads to colllge, its really starting to hit me and its hitting me hard. Not easy. Trying to keep really really busy. Great story though Phyllis, those boys really bring it out in us don’t they!! Hope you are enjoying these last weeks of summer.

  4. One last thing-years ago I read a definition of childhood: “Childhood-the days are long but the years are short.” Oh how true!

  5. I too dreaded the start of school! My only child’s birthday was right before school started, so not only was he a year older, but then school took him away. So I too was one of those tearful mothers on the first day of school; our summer fun was over. I was privileged to stay home with him, even though money was sometimes tight. Still, I wouldn’t have traded that time with him for anything! My son has always been one of my best friends, and I can truthfully say I’ve enjoyed him at every age! With just him and my husband and me, our family circle was very close! Now, he is a teacher, at his old high school, so we still have his birthday, then it’s back to school! On a side note, my son always enjoyed hanging around with my friends. My friend had an only son 3 months younger than mine. We took them to the mall one day, for lunch and school clothes shopping. Her son insisted on walking either ahead of us or behind, like he didn’t know us. Although my son had never exhibited that kind of behavior, I thought a word to the wise was sufficient. Once we were alone in our car, I informed him that if he ever didn’t want to be seen with us, he could walk home and enjoy his own company! Thankfully that never happened, but I laughed aloud at Phyllis’ great mom story! Thank you for sharing!

  6. My babies are seniors this year! When did that happen? This is a bitter sweet year, but when I see my twin 17 years old young men hopping in the “man van” to go to school, I am so proud. When they tell you as a young mom that “it goes so fast!” They were right.

  7. Great story and great way of handling a difficult situation rather than screaming. The beginning of the school year is bittersweet here. I look forward to it and dread it. Can get back to a more normal routine and look forward to having the house back to myself, especially since I run my business from home. Homework trying to get my non morning daughter up are the dreadful bits. So will enjoy the last few weeks.

  8. I absolutely love this story! You are an awesome mom! I am the mother of two grown sons and could SO relate! Thanks for the memories!!

  9. I still shudder when reading the words “junior high”. I had the perfect child, but when she turned 11yrs old her evil twin moved in. Even SHE says now that she would never want to go back to those days. Fortunately when she turned 15 she again became the girl I knew and loved. Now she all grown up and living across the country, but we are still close and I do look forward to her visits. And this Christmas we will also be welcoming our new “son” along with her. Maybe soon SHE will have school day stories to tell!

  10. Your delightful true story about your junior high sons made my day!!! I have two sons (ages 41 and almost 40), and I can hardly wait to share your creative solution with them …

  11. I can remember those days well. It was a holiday for me and a neighbor friend. Her kids were the first on the bus and mine were the last for our street. As soon as the bus pulled away I hopped in the car and drove down the street to pick her up. We always went some place special and stopped for lunch after. We were home in time for the school bus return.
    That was our mini vacation — just us and no kids. (She had 7 and I had 2!)

  12. I also had twins and a daughter not quite two years older than them. I can remember dropping one at one school and the boys at another and hoping to get everyone there on time. They weren’t able to attend the same school because there wasn’t room for both of the boys. I didn’t want to split them up so they went across town to another school together. I remember those mornings when they had to fight over the same bathroom to get ready. They are grown now and when they come to visit they still do. Somethings never change and they are now 27.

  13. I would have loved to have my Mama drop me every school day 3 blocks away or in front of the school any day over how I got to school! I went to a large consolidated school from the 1st to the 12th grades, and I rode a school bus that was NOT air conditioned. It was back in the days when girls wore all those crinolines and super-starched full skirts….no pants allowed. I had the joy of being one of the first 5 on the bus as my bus driver lived 3 houses from me, so by the time we got to school each day those starched skirts were limp and the wind from the window being down had blown my hair all over. I was on that either very hot or cold bus by 7am and did not get home until 4pm. I promised myself that my children would never have to ride a school bus!

    I can see you doing that, Phyllis, and am laughing right now at the look that must have been on Brian and Eric’s face!

  14. I may be the “odd ball” in this, but to me “Back to School” was really the start of a New Year – not January 1. (Labor Day was considered New Year’s Eve at our house.) We enjoyed the hazy, lazy days of summer doing fun stuff, but we were all happy to get back to a routine…and the beautiful autumn weather. Both of my girls were eager to see their school friends; we enjoyed shopping for all the new school gear, etc. Luckily we didn’t have to worry about their wardrobes since they both wore uniforms to school. Since both girls always had a 1/2 day on the first day of school each year, I had a “Back-to-School” party that first afternoon where they could each invite 4 of their close friends – funny how it was the same group of friends all the way to 10th grade. I guess I was lucky to pull that off for so many years (my girls are 7 1/2 years apart) but I enjoyed watching those young ladies grow up and even attending their weddings. But I diverse…

    Love you tactic when dealing with school children who are “embarrassed” by their parents. I was the one asking if I should wait down the block for them!

  15. II remember my daughter’s first day of 1st grade. I was a working Mama, so I had carefully orchestrated everything, allowing me to go into work late. I had the video camera – no phones that took videos back then – hoisted on my shoulder. We still laugh when we watch that video. It consist of me sobbing in the background, Gina waving and then minutes and minutes of the floor because I thought I had turned the camera off! You can hear me crying all the way to the car, where mercifully, the tape stops! The indignities my children had to put up with!!!!

  16. I have 2 adult daughters. I just loved being an at home Mom or a part time worker, at times. I dreaded “back to school”. Every single year I dreaded it from kindergarten through high school. Not for the reasons most give. It made me very sad and I cried each first day of school. Odd, I know. You see I enjoyed both my girls so much, I hated to see them go back to school. I used to be THE ONLY MOTHER crying at the bus stop, or dropping them off. All the other mother’s would stare at me and wonder. I really did enjoy my girls and we always had fun things to do in the summer at a leisurely pace. It was even bad when they went off to college! The oldest went off to cold Wisconsin and the other went off to hot Florida. Who do we go visit on the shorter holidays? What stands out most in my mind of those years, was when we drove my youngest to Florida, came home and the next day when the school bus stopped at our house(drop off point) in the afternoon; our German Shephard Samson was sitting inside the open door waiting for Sarah. The bus took off and he started whining, running and looking out the other windows for her. He did the same thing the next day when I happened to be out walking him, when the bus went by. I still enjoy my daughters. Things haven’t always been great between us, but they are adults now with their own thoughts and lives. That’s how it is between Mother’s and Daughter’s, I hear. Hey, now there’s an idea for a nice Hoffman Media book!

    1. Hi Eileen, I was exactly like you. I used to teach before I had my son so I always had those nervous but also excited butterflies in my tummy on that first day back. But once my son was born, I became a stay at home mom and when he went off to junior kindergarten for the first time I thought my heart was going to break…he was fine though. 22 years later and believe it or not I still miss him going off to school and this year he’ll be starting his first year in medical school. I still have many more”back to school” moments ahead of me!!!

  17. Ha! I can so relate to this! only it was my daughter Karen that wanted to be dropped off three blocks away! I so wish I had thought of this, then, it would have solved a few problems! Awesome!

  18. I love this story, Phyllis. Drastic times indeed call for drastic measures. I can’t quite believe the lazy days of summer are almost over. I look forward to each season, but it’s always a little harder to let go of summer…enjoy these last few weeks!

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