One of my earliest memories of my school years is returning home after the first day of school and smelling the wonderful aroma of my mom’s homemade applesauce chocolate chip cookies.  It is a tradition she began on my first day of kindergarten (I’m the oldest of eight) and continued until my youngest brother finished school.  There were always homemade cookies waiting when we got home from school on the first day.  We would snack on warm cookies and cold milk and tell Mom about our new teacher and the things we did.

I loved the tradition so much that I decided to continue it with my own kids.  On Huh’s first day of preschool I made applesauce chocolate chip cookies.  I have continued baking on the first day of school ever since.  Yawlin started third grade on Monday.  (And, yes, he felt like a victim because he was the only one in the house who had to go to school the day after returning home from family vacation).  I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for Yawlin’s first day.  Most of the family had already grabbed cookies and dashed to destinations unknown before Yawlin walked in the door from school, but the two of us were able to have cookies and milk together as Yawlin told me about his day.

Squid has decided to live at home and attend the community college for a year before he goes on a mission for our church.  Today is his first day at the college.  I will be baking again today.  On Monday the rest of the kids start school.  I will bake yet again.  Three “first days”, three times to bake.  And the kids have all come to expect it.  It is tradition.

This year is actually an easy year.  In 2005 when Hub and I got married, Shroom, who was a 6th grader in a year-round school, was the first to have his first day of school.  Then Hoob began at a different year-round school on a different track.  Yawlin had kindergarten testing before he started, so his first day of school was a week later than Hoob’s.  Huh and Mack had decided to stay with their old school in another school district.  Their first day of school was next followed by Squid and Juju a week later.  There were five “first days” that year.  Five times to bake.  But I had to do it.  It was tradition.  It had never been a tradition for my step kids, but they liked it and look forward to it now. 

The next school year Huh and Mack switched to the school district in which we live so I thought baking for first day would be easier.  But, that was the year Juju’s mother decided to put her in a private school and we invited a foreign exchange student from Vietnam to stay with us (he arrived two weeks into the school year) so I ended up still having four “first days” to bake for.

I’ve changed the tradition a bit, it is not always cookies that I provide.  With so many “first days” I decided I wanted a little variety.  So, instead of cookies, I sometimes bake brownies or cake.  Today for Squid’s first day I am making chocolate zucchini cake because the zucchini plant in our garden is doing very well.  Zucchini anyone?

For any who know me, spending a lot of time in the kitchen is not my activity of choice.  But, the eating of baked goods while hearing about the new happenings at school is worth the effort.  Mom, your tradition lives on!

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