First days are hard, especially first days of school. They come with new teachers, new material, perhaps a new building and - even with the same peers - new or evolving social circles. Often, parents try to lessen the nerves around the first day of school through celebration. They buy new clothes, as well as backpacks and lunchboxes with favorite characters on them. They make a special breakfast and take a photo on the front steps to commemorate. They reinforce a foundation, essentially, of love, safety and warmth at home that will remain with the child through the newness of the school year and beyond.
But what of the children who don’t have that? For many young people in foster care, the first day of school is even more nerve wracking, not only because they are so often in a completely new school with unknown peers and teachers but because they know their home lives are different - and not only different but likely temporary, making the first day of school in August or September the first day at this school and just one of many to follow.
If you’re like me, your social media will be flooded with first day of school pictures over the next few weeks. Enjoy those photos. But while doing so, don’t forget that not every child is having the same first day. There are some for whom it is a greater challenge.