There's a pit in your stomach. Tears start to well behind your oversized sunglasses. Your fingers fumble with your phone as you attempt to take the perfect first-day photo.
Kids might be the ones heading through the doors, but parents experience their fair share of back-to-school jitters. And excitement. And sadness.
Yes, the end of summer can be one big pile of emotions for parents, too.
That moment you realize your kid is running from the car, but not toward the school.
Early workout at 5 a.m. Wake up the kids at 6 a.m. Breakfast at 6:30. Out the door at 7 a.m. Arrive in the drop-off lane at 7:15. Realize the PTA president is in the car in front of you and you're still in your sweaty running shorts and shirt. Oh, the judgment.
That moment you realize the whole world is in front of them.
New teachers, new classmates, new clothes, new backpack. Your kid has a fresh haircut, a toothy grin and is ready to take on the world (or at least second grade).
That moment you realize your kid is on his own.
You've heard things about that English teacher, Mr. Smith. Oh, and there's a new soccer coach this year. You want to make sure your kid gets good grades and plays forward, but teacher meetings aren't until the middle of the term.
That moment you realize you can have a cup of coffee in peace.
School might start at 8 a.m., but the bus picks up the crew at 7:05. As for work, you don't need to leave until 7:45. Sweet silence.
That moment you realize it's been 20 years since you multiplied fractions.
Once classes are in full swing, you won't be clearing off the table just for dinner -- although the moans and groans might be the same. Your kids will be tasked with replacing their nightly free time with homework... and you might have to help.
That moment you realize you're buying cool gel pens for your kids and not yourself.
The smell of new folders and the sound of opening a new, brightly colored notebook for the first time. Let's be honest, it's difficult not to get a bit envious of the kids' new school supplies and long for the days of Trapper Keepers and Lisa Frank folders.
That moment you realize your baby isn't a baby.
You swear it was just yesterday you were waking up in the middle of the night and rocking a wee one in your arms. How on earth is that little one starting her first day of junior high?