Here at the newspapers back to school is a big deal, both inside and outside the classroom. Back to school information and the return of interscholastic sports has us amping up our own game to get ready for what always promises to be a busy 10 months of coverage.
Personally, this has always coincided with getting my own kids – two boys – ready for their own classroom and extracurricular activities. In their younger years there was the inevitable traipsing all over town for a large shopping list of supplies that were spelled out in specific and detailed fashion. Need a ½” binder? No, wait, they need a 1 ½” binder and they need it only in white. Guess what’s sold out everywhere? Okay, we need folders, but these have to be with pockets and brads. Walmart has some with pockets, Target has some with brads and no pockets. Ugh. Trips to Walmart, Target, Office Depot and OfficeMax on the same day were regular occurrences for the Williams family in August.
Athletics was easier: Get the physicals, get the proper footwear and the rest would work itself out. Thank you athletic departments! The driving is what gets you. I have seen more of Texas following my sons’ football games and cross country meets then I have simply being a Texan.
But now, well one son is in the Air Force and the other is starting college. Life is easier — no shopping trips, no physicals, no hunting down immunization records. It’s all good, right? It should be, except that I find myself missing the hectic nature of August, the rush of making sure everything is good as the boys prepared for another year.
I’ll miss being a sports parent. Making sure my son is ready for two-a-days or preparing for another season of Saturday cross country meets. The meet-the-athlete nights were a big deal, seeing them walk out with their teammates wearing the school colors. And the more I think of it, the more I feel myself being a little jealous of those parents who are still a part of their childrens’ lives in that way. My boys are growing up and I’m having to learn to let go. That, dear readers, is not easy to do.
So, for those of you who have kids still in school, cherish these moments, these days, months and years. Fighting through packs of angry parents in the school supply aisle, sitting in the doctor’s office waiting room for that physical or driving to some town you’ve never heard of may sound terrible now, but the thought gets better with age.
Rodney Williams is the managing editor for The Anna-Melissa Tribune, Van Alstyne Leader and Prosper Press. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow along on Twitter with Rodney Williams@GateHouseWeekly.