• Joey

Back to School Days

Updated: May 25

The kids are back in school, and we absolutely LOVE seeing everyone's back-to-school pictures! The new outfits, the confident smiles, and the excitement of getting back to some sense of normalcy are making us nostalgic.

Our older two really enjoy school. They both enjoy the social aspect of their day and have been gifted with an aptitude for academics. Although they are now in their teen and preteen years, so there is a little bit of Ugggghhhh when it comes to getting going in the morning.

Unfortunately, our third, Sawyer, will likely have a somewhat warped idea of school. He started kindergarten last year, only to have the pandemic cut the year short. His school decided to go back to a hybrid model, and then his teacher quit. He had just gotten settled this school year and started when Hurricane Ida came through and postponed the school year. Even with all the setbacks, though, he has a thirst for learning and still looks for ways to learn how things work.

Our youngest hasn't started school just yet, but I feel like he would do just about anything for the opportunity to show off his dinosaur "pack pack" (his pronunciation of backpack).

All this nostalgia also has me reflecting on what school was like for me. Times (and I) have changed!

Honestly, I loved school. I feel like as a kid, school was a place where I could seek validation for being exceptional when I felt different and unusual. I was good at school, and people noticed, so I leaned into that. Also, I Adored the escapism of the arts, and school allowed me that. Even from a young age, I would read voraciously. My mom would have to check on me at night to ensure I was sleeping and not reading with a flashlight in my room. I loved being wrapped up in a story and being transported to another place, which theatre also provided.

I would say that I wasn't exactly a social butterfly, but I wasn't exactly a loner either. I had my friends in school, which were quite an eclectic bunch. My friends were theatre nerds and cheerleaders, band geeks and athletes. They all had one thing in common, though - just being good people. I appreciate them and miss them dearly (if you're reading this, let me know when you want to visit Virginia).

Being a queer kid in southern Louisiana during that time was tough; I won't lie. I was in 6th grade the first time I was called that one derogatory slur no gay man wants to hear. My school did its best to foster an environment of inclusivity, but it was nothing like what is happening now. Inclusivity then was more "we will definitely punish the kid who beats up the gay kid," not actually celebrating difference. Although there is a part of me that wishes I could go back and do it again in a more authentic way, I also appreciate the fact that my experience shaped who I am today and led me to where I am supposed to be - with a lovely family and the man I love.

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