Classes resumed this week in Marshalltown and around central Iowa.
Armed with their backpacks, a ton of school supplies and the well wishes from their parents and teachers for a good school year, youngsters have most likely settled in to their school day routine.
Forty years after I made my way into my first-grade classroom, I can still recall the excitement and the anxiety associated with that first day of school.
Every year, from kindergarten through my senior year, the day always started the same ... standing in front of my house with my sister, dressed in our new school clothes, books and supplies in hand, my mother trying to take a photo of us. And every year, she would pull the Kleenex from her pocket to wipe away the tears as we rushed off to class.
Nearly 30 years after I graduated from high school, my mother still gets a little misty-eyed. Back-to-school time always meant letting go.
It's understandable why many parents feel this way - after all, it's that little leap of faith they commit to every school year - placing their child in the hands of teachers, who they hope will help shape and mold their youngster into an educated, well-rounded productive adult.
Not being a parent, I don't know if the yearly back-to-school routine could be construed as traumatic, but I know it can't be easy.
It's a delicate dance between parents and teachers - both seeking the best way to help a child learn and grow.
And today, with the added pressures of social media, concerns about safety in our schools and other outside influences, those efforts are made even more difficult.
So if you see adults with red eyes and runny noses or a Kleenex nearby - it may not be allergies - rather, it's just a reminder that school is back in session and letting go can be tough this time of year.
Contact Jeff Hutton at 641-753-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org