The first thing I noticed upon entering the elementary school was the smell. It had been many years since I crossed the threshold of a school, but the aroma was unmistakable. The halls were filled with the musty smell of old books and tempera paint. It was an odor that was both familiar and horrifying.
I was making my first visit to what was going to be the Bean’s new school in order to drop off some enrollment forms. Stepping through the door of the administrative office, the busy-looking woman told me to have a seat and I immediately did as I was told. The stern tone in her voice combined with the ever-present school smell had triggered an involuntary reaction in me. I squirmed in the uncomfortable wooden chair listening to the ticking of the clock. I was on edge, no longer did I feel like a parent of a future student, I felt like I had gotten in trouble and was waiting for the principle to emerge from his office to have a chat with me about my behavior.
I began to normalize once I was outside in the fresh air, wondering if I was going to feel that way every time I went into the school. If so, it was going to be a long year.