Editor's Voice - August 2023

Written by Leigh Ripley

Every kid is unique. When you have children of your own, each one’s individuality becomes illuminated like a marquis board on the Vegas strip. In my case, I’ve got The Trailblazer, The Timorous and The Valiant. And each child’s first day of school read like a Merriam-Webster definition.

The Trailblazer. When that first day of kindergarten came, she held her little head up high and, with a look of determination, took a deep breath and let any glimmer of fear go. She smiled, waved and climbed those three giant steps onto the big yellow bus that would carry her to the first day of school. And her little 5-year-old-self did it on her own. (Looking back, I really should have driven her to school and given her a proper send-off. But considering how my next two experiences would go, I don’t really carry much guilt.) She tackled high school and college in the same manner. Paving the way for her sisters to follow. Or at least one of them…

Next, the easily frightened: The Timorous. She never wanted much to do with school. Or leaving home for that matter. We tried preschool. It was a small school, housed in a beautifully remodeled barn just minutes from our house. There were only six kids and she knew two of them (as well as the owner/instructor). Unless she was distracted, allowing me to run for the door without being seen, she would chase my car down the gravel driveway. It was a truly pitiful and heartbreaking sight. So, preschool didn’t last long. And the first day of kindergarten was no different. Wearing her favorite fuzzy black winter jacket (in August) she clung to me as we arrived to meet her saint of a teacher. This child climbed my body like a tree and landed a death grip on my neck. Almost as bad as watching her run for me in my rearview mirror was the moment her teacher lovingly peeled her from my body. Drop-off went like this for a few weeks. Weeping, gripping, peeling. And, she didn’t emerge from her fuzzy black hoodie until sometime in early October. She still doesn’t like leaving home, although I don’t think I factor into that as much these days. 

The Valiant. My adventurous, independent, bold and courageous one. She would have taken the bus, walked, biked or been driven by the devil himself. She didn’t care. I was abandoned in the school parking lot as she ran toward her classmates. My attempts at a photo of us, or just her, were dodged with looks of embarrassment and invariably ended in a group class shot. She’s been running her own show ever since. 

My kids are now 20, 17 and 15. Looking back on those first days of school I see how distinctly those personalities were already shaped and I can trace their growth like a Zodiac calendar. No matter how that first day of school goes, whether it’s kindergarten or college, I hope you and your Vegas headliner have a great one.

Read the August issue here


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