The ritual of returning to school a timeless one


The ritual of returning to 

The floors shine for the last time as sneakers screech their irrefutable sirens down hallways buffed with hope, ideals, and accomplishments yet owned. The traditional scents of glue, Lysol, and trepidation mingle with newcomers, such as hand sanitizer, refurbished laptops, and healthy snacks. 

Sounds of introductions, instructions, and PTA recruitment billow above the whispers of parents letting go of tiny hands. Desks slide, lockers clink, and the teachers’ lounge has a constant hum of brewing coffee. 

It is a time capsule that has managed to stay buried and protected from the erosion of more difficult times. However, it is accessible by advances in curricula and an infinite supply of blank paper and contact forms. Students still look for familiar faces and hesitantly approach teachers of preceding urban legends while creatively avoiding the glance of the all-powerful principal. It is a rite of passage, a battle of the unknowns. It is the first day of school. 

The front office is an epicenter of information, traffic control, forgotten lunches, and more than a dozen figurines of the apple variety. No matter the turmoil of the outside world, the front office holds the cure for most of what ails. 

In schools across the land, there is one woman with unmatched power, an affinity for cardigans, and a smile that feels like home. Many say she is immortal, often walking through walls when no one is looking. She never loses her stapler and always smells of vanilla and scotch tape. 

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I walked hallways to the rhythm of a racing heartbeat, anticipating the pronunciation of my name and hoping my desk assignment was as far away from the eyes of the teacher as possible. My inability to sit still faired much better with each three-foot increment of the teacher-to-Cherimie distance. 

Now, as a parent, I can’t help but always notice the names on those desks closest to the teacher. Mainly because it just so happens to be my daughter. She hasn’t figured out this mysterious seating algorithm, and for now, that is best. To her, it is a fondness that repeatedly lands her within arm’s reach. 

As moms and dads find their way back to daily schedules that include fewer screams of ‘close the door’ in exchange for cries of ‘hurry up, we are going to be late!’ the world again falls into the school day routine. Amid all the change, uncertainty, and vast pendulum swings, many find reassurance in the timeless familiarity of squeaking bus doors, story time, cafeteria pizza, and homework that serves as a reminder that we may not be quite as bright as we think. 

Teachers, coaches, nurses, front office angels, and all those who move the spokes of education will rise above the outside world, offering knowledge, compassion, human connection, and the miracle of teaching young minds while considering young hearts. Parents will survive homework thanks to Uncle Google; students will survive visits to the principal, and teachers can start the countdown to a well-deserved Christmas Break. Happy Back to School, Beaufort! 

Cherimie Crane Weatherford is the owner/founder of SugarBelle, a long-time real estate broker and a lover of the obscurities of southern culture. To contact her with praise and adoration, email CCWIslandNews@gmail.com. To complain, call your local representative. 

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