By A.M. Wertz
Special to the Sun-Gazette
To say this year is bigger than any other would be an understatement.
Although I've been out of school for quite some time now, I continue to get the first-day-of-school jitters when late August hits. Sending my daughter off to spend her day with a new teacher, in a new classroom, surrounded by kids who could potentially hurt my baby girl's feelings always has caused a sense of dread for me.
But, I continually push through my own helicopter parenting mentality and allow her to blossom on her own. It doesn't get any easier during those first few weeks, but it does take a little less effort to take a step back and watch my daughter make responsible choices for herself.
So what makes this year so monumental?
A week after I walk my daughter to her new classroom for the first day of school, I'll be walking my son up the steps to his first classroom EVER.
When my daughter was young, I knew what to expect when I dropped her off. She loves to learn and she's never been scared of new environments. It was much harder for me to walk away than for her to wave me off. I remember standing in the hallway staring through the window thinking, "Is it good or bad that she didn't cry for me?"
Every parent knows the answer to that, but never wants to admit that their child is OK without them.
But with my son, I honestly don't know what to expect.
Once I think I have him pinned to be a certain type of kid with a certain type of personality, he surprises me and becomes just the opposite.
At 4 years old, he puts up a tough front. His heart, on the other hand, is easily shattered. I can't imagine my son at school.
Will he be the shy kid who finds it hard to make friends, the class clown, the bully, the teacher's pet? It's hard to say.
But there's one thing I do know: The first day of school is always hardest on mommy and daddy.
Wertz, the former Sun-Gazette assistant Lifestyle editor, is director of funds distribution at the Lycoming County United Way. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Her column is published on the first Sunday of each month.