High Anxiety & The First Day of School

5 Last Songs on iTunes:

  1. Little Talks- Of Monsters & Men
  2. How To Save A Life- The Fray
  3. Just Like Heaven- The Cure
  4. Blackjack- Ray Charles
  5. Atlantic City- Bruce Springsteen

Midnight has come and gone but I am not smart enough to go to bed early. Spent countless hours running from place to place today and though my body is stationary my mind is still racing at light speed so here I am trying to decompress.

Six years ago I wrote a post about my son’s first day of school. Six years ago I wrote about a boy who was almost half the size of the one who is sleeping in the other room and shared some of my concern about his first day of school.

I blinked and the days that were the present became the past and now I am staring at the future I once wondered and worried about.

We registered for middle school today.

Middle school.

When I was his age we called it junior high except it didn’t start until 7th grade. This kid of mine gets to start in 6th grade, not that it really matters. At least I don’t see a huge difference between the two years.

What is Different Now

What is different now is that my little man is entering public school. After years of attending a Jewish Day school he is going out into the world. I have mixed emotions about this. His education was great but he was sheltered a bit and I expect that some of what he sees will surprise him.

Overall I am very confident in his abilities to get by, but I am still concerned.

This afternoon we had a discussion about some of the differences between middle school and elementary. I told him that now I have to rely upon his using his head and that common sense was very important.

We talked about sex, drugs and rock and roll, except it was a bit more clinical. I don’t want to scare him but I want to make two things clear:

1) I know something about all these things. I was a student so I am not unfamiliar with it all.

2) He can always talk to me about anything.

5 More Songs on iTunes:

  1. The Ocean- Led Zeppelin
  2. Come Together – The Beatles
  3. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (Live)- U2 Live From Paris
  4. I Walk the Line- Johnny Cash
  5. (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay- Otis Redding

The Dark Haired Beauty

My daughter is going to a new school too. She’ll make her first foray into a public school as well. Part of me is really unhappy about this, but not because it is a bad school. Heck, it is one of the better public schools in town so that aspect of this is cool.

What bothers me is that her brother got to stay at the school longer. What bothers me is that it feels a bit like she caught the short end of the stick and that is not fair. I don’t play favorites and I want her to have everything her brother did.

But the decision to pull them is the correct one. It is financially necessary and she is ready.

My girl is a force of nature. When she sets her mind to doing something she keeps moving, pushing, pulling and working on it until it is completed to her satisfaction. She makes friends easily and she will figure this out. It will all be fine.

High Anxiety

My kiddies are nervous about these changes and so am I. Even though I am quite confident in them it is hard not to be a bit nervous. New schools, new schedules and new responsibilities.

New challenges and new opportunities come along with it. I see these things as being quite positive, but a father worries.

I am doing my best to keep them calm. I figure they’ll feed off of my energy and that should help, but it still feels surreal.

I can’t say that I don’t know where the time went because I do.

This blog you are reading holds an interactive chronicle of the past six years. There are tons of stories and a million snapshots of little moments in time in which I can read and return to the past.

But the past isn’t where I want to be, not unless I can pick very specific moments to relive. I have several that I would enjoy experiencing again, but that is not real.

And Yet Another 5 songs on iTunes

  1. Burning Down The House- Talking Heads
  2. Spinning Wheel- Blood Sweat & Tears
  3. Strange Days- The Doors
  4. Ramblin’ On My Mind- John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers
  5. I Gotta Feeling- Black Eyed Peas


Anticipation is what is making this hard for all of us.We don’t particularly enjoy this kind of waiting. Things will get easier once school starts and everyone understands what is going on. Once we see it is all working just fine we’ll collectively exhale and find more important things to worry about.

In the interim I am going to do my best to help them enjoy what is left of summer.

Linking up with Dude Write #8

(Visited 505 times, 1 visits today)


  1. Chiz August 7, 2012 at 5:21 am

    I went to a private high school myself, so I don’t know too much about public high school aside from others experiences. Though, I went to a public middle school and witnessed some of the horrors of that as well. Drugs and sex and the like. But, that stuff happens everywhere. The Catholic high school I went to had the same bullies, drugs, and violence than the rest of them.Furthermore, I transferred colleges where I went from having a limited amount of friends and made a lot of new friends. It was easier to make friends because I knew how to make a good first impression after failing the first time.

  2. TheJackB August 6, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    @shane_barker Thank you sir.

  3. workingdan August 6, 2012 at 11:36 am

    I can understand your concern if your kids have been rather sheltered for the most part. As much as public schools don’t produce the highest quality of education than private schools (just guessing), they do teach the harsher realities of life. Bullying and social class and where to fit in and what not. The sooner they learn that everything ain’t all peaches and cream, the better off they’ll be.

    • TheJackB August 6, 2012 at 1:46 pm

      workingdan Yep, their school has kept them a bit sheltered from some of the things they are going to encounter in public school and the so called real world.They aren’t completely unprepared for what they will find, but I think it will surprise them.

  4. My Own Private Idaho August 6, 2012 at 9:51 am

    I had something thoughtful and witty to say, but I’m still scratching my head over your iTunes sets.  And I thought *my* mix was eclectic!

    • TheJackB August 6, 2012 at 10:21 am

      My Own Private Idaho Yeah, I listen to a lot of everything. There isn’t much if anything that you can’t find in my collection. I definitely have my favorites, but…What are the last 5 songs on your playlist?

  5. YoungmanBrown August 5, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    New experiences are always scary, but I think that moving up in school is one of those awesome-scary experiences in which moving to unfamiliar territory also comes with a new freedoms as well as new responsibilities.  And there is not much you can do but let ’em learn for themselves.And if it makes you feel better, midnight always comes and goes for me.

    • TheJackB August 6, 2012 at 10:16 am

      YoungmanBrown It sounds like you are a night owl like me.New experiences are indeed nerve wracking. I think for the kids and I the anticipation is the hardest part. When you don’t know whether the water is boiling or ice cold you can go crazy wondering. It is sometimes easier to jump in and start swimming.

  6. Rusty August 5, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    It’s a hard time for you and your children. I think WilyGuy said it best. Shit will go down, but your parents will always be there

  7. ladygoogoogaga2011 August 5, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    My youngest is off to kindergarten in the fall, and I am going to be devastated. God forbid the day that he goes to middle school…I will have a nervous breakdown!http://lgoogoogaga.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/a-small-retraction-and-more-tales-from-the-beach/

    • TheJackB August 6, 2012 at 9:51 am

      ladygoogoogaga2011 Blog about it. I am serious. It is really helpful. There is something special here in the blogosphere that helps to make all this crap a tad easier, and it is kind of fun to be able to look back years later to see where you were.

  8. michael_walker69 August 5, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Sometimes change can be good. Your kids will get to experience new things they might not have before, and a chance to make new friends. Change can be scary, but it can also lead to a whole new adventure in our lives.Michael A. WalkerDefying Procrastination

    • TheJackB August 6, 2012 at 9:51 am

      michael_walker69 We are in agreement about the value of change. Change leads to growth and though it is scary, sometimes it can be critical in our development.

  9. Hajra August 5, 2012 at 11:23 am

    I still remember the day I changed schools (we moved from a small town to a big city) and the new school was going to be about ten times bigger than the last one – in terms of students, area and just about everything. My dad told me something which I will remember for the rest of my life – you are like the salt in the food, it might be just a pinch, but you are one who will make the difference to the whole thing! So, yes, kids need that. They need to be reminded of just how special they will always be – every stage of life. I am glad you manage to reach out and talk to them. 🙂

    • TheJackB August 6, 2012 at 9:46 am

      Hajra  This is part of why I love blogging, the chance to hear so many cool stories. “A pinch of salt,” you provide the flavor that works for me.Your change sounds very similar to the one my kids are going through. They are moving from small to much, much bigger.

  10. wilyguy August 5, 2012 at 6:58 am

    Middle School these days is about survival. Plain and simple. Just get through it. Mom and Dad aren’t going to like you that much the next 3 years, but we love you.I remember when my oldest was heading in, I had him in the car and I just started calling him names, some really funny, others cruel. I picked on his glasses, his outfit, his hairdo, his intellect. I made stuff up. (yeah, Dad of the Year stuff)I pointed out that he wasn’t the richest kid, the most athletic, or the best looking (poor kid is related to me) but that he could be the best friend, nicest guy, and best sport.At the end of it all, I told him that in Middle School, friends today would be picking on him the next, pecking orders would be established, and that in the end…he was still exactly who he was and could be and that I loved him. Good luck for your next three years.WG

    • TheJackB August 5, 2012 at 11:53 pm

      wilyguy My son is a sensitive boy which is part of why I am a bit nervous. He stands up for himself and has a solid identity which is why I am confident he’ll be ok. Still I think he is going to be shocked at how very different his elementary school was compared to middle school.I haven’t said much about the pecking order or name calling because I want to see how it goes. But I understand why you did what you did, I know a bunch of guys who did the same thing.I like the idea of teaching them they can be the best friend, nicest guy and best sport. Character is worth something.These kids of ours are great, even if they do try our patience sometimes.

  11. Joe August 5, 2012 at 6:33 am

    Jack, children are remarkably adaptable; I’m sure they’ll do just fine. I’ve had to drag my kids around the country, sometimes changing schools in the middle of the school year. They may be a bit fearful in the beginning, but after the first week they are completely acclimated to their new environment. 

    • TheJackB August 5, 2012 at 11:53 pm

      @Joe  Hi Joe,Given your former profession I would imagine that you have lived all over the place. That has to make for some interesting stories on its own.I expect that things will go as you say. Once they get a chance to see that kids are kids and to make friends things should ease up. I am excited for them, still trying to figure out how I have a son who is going to be 12 this year.Crazy times.

  12. charlieandsheba August 5, 2012 at 3:48 am

    Boy oh boy! Seems I’m the only one here who isn’t a parent. Course I do have my babies, my cocker spaniel Reg and my three kitties (love them so much!). Funny thing Jack is that the other reason I switched to public school was their English department offered so much more. World Lit., English Lit., etc. Their Humanities program was excellent, and afforded me the chance to travel abroad on Spring break with them. Memories of a lifetime. Btw, really like ‘Burning Down the House’. Jack, your children will have the time of their lives…

    • TheJackB August 5, 2012 at 11:48 pm

      charlieandsheba That sounds like a reasonable reason to switch schools. Education is very important. Travel is good too. I think we learn so much more when we get a chance to leave home and see other things.

  13. TheJackB August 4, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    timbo1973 Hi Tim,How many children do you have and how old are they?School has been a wonderful experience for my children and I have taken great pleasure in watching them grow. It is just a transitional period now that has a couple of bumps to get over.That is cool that you have your daughter home with you. Sounds like a lot of fun.

  14. MimiMeredith August 4, 2012 at 7:27 am

    Hello friend! You know, we worry about things in an entirely different way when we worry over our children. My own worries nibble at me like gnats. When I feel anxious about my children however, I wrestle with bear size anxiety. And it does indeed all boil down to the way we approach anticipation. The waiting times. We are funny beings that crave knowing, closure and resolution. Animals just roll with the seasons. Relying on instinct. Your parenting instincts are solid. Your children are amazing, thoughtful sounding people. This will all be good. Here’s to finding joy in the days of waiting for the new chapters life offers.

    • TheJackB August 4, 2012 at 11:28 pm

      MimiMeredith Hi Mimi, it is really good to see you! How are things?I am doing my best to trust my children. They are smart, caring and grounded. They will figure it out, it is just hard to know they are going to learn some hard lessons and there is not much I can do to make it easier. They have to get bumped and bruised a bit so they can figure out how to swim on their own and that is ok. It is just hard to do.

      • MimiMeredith August 5, 2012 at 5:38 am

        And that part of parenting–the releasing them to make mistakes and suffer–that is the hardest part. I just sing Sweet Honey in the Rock’s version of On Children to myself and pray a lot!

  15. charlieandsheba August 4, 2012 at 4:42 am

    Now Jack, deep breath…there, you can do it! My dad sent the four of us to Catholic schools from1-12. That’s why he worked two jobs. However, after tenth grade, I opted for public school. Ten years of wearing a uniform were enough for me! Was pretty darn nervous cause I didn’t know what to expect. My fears were quickly put to rest, kids are kids. I really saw no difference. But maybe what concerns you most, is that children are forced to grow up so quickly these days, what a pity. Sounds like you are on top of things, so just relax and view it as an adventure (your daughter seems to be doing that already, props for her!) Good day all.

    • TheJackB August 4, 2012 at 11:28 pm

      charlieandsheba My kids are probably better prepared for this than I am. One of the advantages of lack of life experience is that sometimes you don’t worry about things that you might otherwise be concerned about.We talked about sending the kids to a couple of Catholic schools because they cost so much less than our school and have more resources than a lot of the public schools.Ten years of wearing a uniform would have gotten pretty old, or so it seems to me.

  16. bdorman264 August 4, 2012 at 4:37 am

    Because you’re mine, I walk the line…………..Johhny C baby…………:). This is a very minor bump; kids are resilient and they will do just fine. The diversity will be an education in and of itself. They do grow up fast though………..good luck. 

    • TheJackB August 4, 2012 at 11:23 pm

      bdorman264 Johnny is one of my favorite artists, just stellar work. Since you have already gone down this road I am happy to listen to your counsel. The diversity will be good for them. I want my kids to know how to get along with anyone. Just wish time would slow…

  17. Julie August 4, 2012 at 3:22 am

    Sixth grade – who remembers that age without shuddering?  Funny back when I was a kid I was doing the reverse – getting out of a rough public school and being sent to a private girls school on a scholarship.  I wish your kids the best (and you too, Dad) – anticipation of big transitions can be anxietymaking but it’ll all smooth over soon.  I’ll bet you get LOTS of interesting commentary and feedback from your son especially…

    • TheJackB August 4, 2012 at 11:23 pm

      Julie | A Clear Sign Sixth grade was quite the ride. It is hard to let our kids grow up without instilling some of our own fears and insecurities in them. I try to remember that what happened to me might not happen to mine and I say that with the memory of school having been alright. There were a couple of rough spots, but as time passes it becomes harder to remember.I expect it will all be ok, but still…

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You may also like