Today was the first day of school for my kids…third grade for my daughter and fifth for my son. After the flag-raising ceremony, I walked over to the multi-purpose room for today’s purpose: reconnecting with other parents! There was a “coffee and volunteer sign-up” in the MP room and I was delighted to see how many parents stayed to volunteer for the various school activities throughout the year.

This year marked the first time that I brought a baked good for the welcome-back coffee that I myself baked. During previous years, I was in a job or looking for my next job, so if I even managed to sign up to bring something it was normally pre-made from Trader Joe’s (every working mom’s best friend) or Whole Foods (if I felt like I needed to impress people). This year, however, I baked. I BAKED. Yes, it was from a mix from Trader Joe’s, but I had to turn on an oven, dammit, so I want my awesome-mom-points. And bonus points because I hacked the crumbcake recipe and made delicious crumb-cake muffins.

Thus, it was delightful to saunter in – fresh from my arrival on my Townie cruiser bike – and deposit a tupperware container of home-madebaked muffins on the breakfast table. I didn’t need to rush through signups, or hurry my conversations with other moms (and one dad!)…there were no work meetings for me to get to and I had nothing scheduled until pick-up time! I enjoyed the time catching up with the other parents.

One of my amazing mom friends – who is a lawyer, working part-time, and a mom of two great daughters – knew that I had stopped working for a few months and had hinted in an email that she would love my help with fundraising. When I arrived at the volunteer coffee, I saw her standing by the table with signup sheets for the fundraising events and I went over to say hello. She was in side-show barker mode and doing a phenomenal job of signing up parents to help with the fund-raising events for the school, and when she saw me, she immediately sidled up next to me and started the recruiting process.  She reminded me that this was my son’s last year at the school (sniffle!) and wouldn’t it be great to be involved in making it an awesome year! It was an easy sell…I really like her and I am grateful to be able to help out, so I signed up to help reconcile the payments after the fall auction. With my commitment sealed in ink on the signup sheet, we moved on to catching up on our summers, and I realized that this was the year her younger daughter started kindergarten. She told me how she started tearing up when she took a photo of her two girls this morning, and when the girls asked her why she had tears in her eyes…she replied “Allergies!” Ah yes, the allergies that seem to only strike us on the first and last day of the school year….