|First Day of School (IRB)|
|Written by Iceland Review|
|Tuesday, 23 August 2011 14:29|
When I was sitting in a book café the other day, I noticed that school’s starting again soon. I saw practice books for reading and writing amongst the notebooks, pencil cases and the other school necessities. And they were exactly the same reading books I got when I first started school, 29 years ago. Twenty-nine years, ouch.
We start school at the age of six here. Actually, when my year started it was the first time that six-year-olds went to proper school.
It wasn’t even called Year 1, it was just called pre-school. We attended school two or three times a week, fewer hours at a time than the other kids.
Still, it was school to me and I took it very seriously.
My first schoolbag was dark green with a bright red outer-pocket. My first pencil case was blue and red, with two compartments, one filled with color pencils. The other contained a striped eraser, a red sharpener, a ruler and a few pencils. I remember the smell of my new school stationary vividly.
School didn’t start till September back then, at least in the countryside. And in my mind, it was always warm and sunny on the first day of school.
The only hard thing about starting school for me was that my mum wasn’t around. She had gone to stay with her mother in Reykjavík as she was expecting my baby brother.
So, dad was the one who got me ready for the first day of school, brushed my hair, made sure I had my lunch snack in the bag and matching socks on my feet (I’ve told you before about my resistance to wearing socks in general).
And he walked me out to the gate where the school bus picked me up to take me to school, all alone and on my own, having to depend entirely on myself for the first time in my life. Or so I thought.
I’m sure it’s what we all think on our first day at school. Which is why I get a little knot in my tummy around this time of year, every year, on behalf of all those little six-year-olds who feel excited, proud, nervous and scared, all at once.
After surviving my first day of school, I returned home with the bus. I ran home from the gate and into the house, where of course my dad wasn’t. He was outside working, as farmers do.
But he made sure to return inside when he saw that the school bus had come round, even though his work outside wasn’t done.
He sat down with me in the living room and asked me about my first day of school. I told him everything in detail, about the teachers, classes, breaks, kids, toys and playground.
And I showed him every single book I’d be given at the school. The reading book, the work book, the writing book, the math book. Not only that, but I turned every single page of every book to show him, telling him that soon, I’d be able to read and understand all this.
He listened patiently, looked at every page and watched me carefully organize all my things in my schoolbag again, trying it on my back just one more time and adjusting the straps just a little more.
And that’s how I remember my first day of school.
Looking at those familiar reading books at the book café the other day I realized that not only has it been 29 years since I started learning how to read and write, but I’ve also spent 24 years of my life getting some sort of an education. First there was elementary school, then college and finally university.
However, dad only saw me through the first 12 years of school. I wish he could have seen me graduate from college and then from university, twice.
And as I’m struggling to finish my second masters’ degree, I wish he were here so I could show him my books and tell him I can do this. And feel safe.
So this is for all those having their first day of school this autumn. And for all the great dads too.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 August 2011 22:52|