I walked my two oldest kids to their first day of school on Tuesday morning.
It took 30 seconds.
I have to say I felt a little sorry for the parents who had to drive through the madhouse that was first-day-of-school traffic.
My oldest handled first-day jitters so well that it was hard to tell if she had any jitters at all, but my second daughter seemed to be on the verge of breaking down when we dropped her off.
My wife and I have a method for handling the impending tears: We leave.
We don’t do it out of callousness or lack of love for our daughter; rather, we do it out of experience.
I know that if I stick around and give my daughter someone to hang onto and rely on, she won’t reach out to those around her and begin to form the all-important first-day relationships with her teacher and her classmates.
We walk away so that she can shine. We’ve always done that. When they are dropped off in nursery at church for the first time, it’s always with a quick hug and an, “All right, have fun in nursery.”
Four kids we’ve done that with and we’ve never had a problem.
In fact, our kids probably excel at handling first-day jitters because they experienced nursery at the age of 18 months.
We also prep our kids by talking about the experience and what they can expect when they get to what they are doing.
I wish I had some photography parents who would help me to get back in the saddle again when it comes to shooting high school sports.
Soccer isn’t so tough. You follow the ball, and with a basic knowledge of the game, usable photos come.
Football is only slightly tougher because the light is so bad. There isn’t a well-lit football field between San Francisco and Seattle, but I make do with higher ISOs and a super-fast lens.
Once again, when the ball is followed, the shots come.
The fall sport that makes me want to break down and cry with first-day jitters is volleyball.
Volleyball is difficult to shoot – shoot well, I should say – and it takes a couple days worth of games to shake off the rust and get into the volleyball groove.
With volleyball you have to anticipate. You have to pick a player and stick with them until they make a play. Or, pick a spot on the net and stick with it until something happens at that spot. You can’t follow the ball because it moves so fast.
There is a reason that most action photos from volleyball games are shot from a balcony above the game – it’s because ground-level shots are so difficult.
But last night was the first of five preseason games for the Bruin volleyball team and I should have plenty of time to get practice before the regular season begins.
Of course, my wife has done to me what we do to our kids.
She gave me a kiss, a quick hug and threw me into the inferno that is the daily grind of work, work and more work.
Oddly we’ve never talked about how fun it would be to go to my first day in nursery. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’m almost 38.