Number 18

Families are rising, pulling things together, checking lists, donning minutely planned outfits, fixing hair, and taking photos. Moms are occasionally sad, always surprised, and often relieved. Dads are universally cheerful. Teenagers are uncharacteristically alert and ready to drive themselves majestically to school for the first time. Children are simply electrified. Teachers are the slow movers this morning, or they can be. I sit here with books and coffee, not moving at all. I know exactly what to do and what it will all feel like. It’s no big deal; it’s just the 18th first day.

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