There’s a Cowboy in the Jungle

Today was the first day of school for my two kids. We had a great summer, from the first weekend in New York City to the last week in South Dakota. It didn’t matter where we were or what we did, it was all good in the summertime.

Having summers off–while they no longer serve the purpose of letting kids help out with the farm chores–sure are a good thing for kids, teachers, and parents. But they don’t make much sense academically, and year-round schools may happen one day in the future. But for now, we enjoyed last summer for all it was worth.

But like all good things, it couldn’t last for very long. And so now school is back in session, and the daily routine that we’re all so used to by now has returned. And there is a comfort in that, knowing that until next summer comes around, the structure of the school day will be there to fill up the intervening weeks and months.

Today was the first of these “back to school” days that didn’t involve my older daughter’s school of the past seven years. She wanted to go to a junior high school, and she worked hard enough to make it happen. I’m always proud of my children, but today was extra special, since it was the start of a new chapter in her academic career.

A year ago, when she started sixth grade at her old school, I honestly though we had three more years there, until 8th grade graduation rolled around. But, as with many other things in life, fate intervened. The particulars of how this came to pass don’t really matter anymore. The bottom line is that nothing lasts forever, and things rarely work out the way you expect them to.

This post is titled after an old Jimmy Buffett song about the importance of rolling with the punches, and making the best of whatever comes along in life. And I haven’t come across any of his songs that don’t contain at least some kernel of truth in them. He’s our modern-day oracle, as near as I can tell.

So my hat is off to my daughters, and to all kids and parents, as they either chart a new course or return to their old haunts for another year. They won’t be the same kids in May or June that they are today, and the key is to accept that and enjoy the ride for as long as we can.

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