Is it just me or does anyone else's calendar still begin with the start of school each fall? Even after I was done with my formal education, there has always been something about that moment in late August or early September when I feel as if a new year has begun. Maybe it's that tiny drop in the daily high temperature, but something about this time of the year always makes me feel like it's time for a fresh start.

And then I married my husband, who is a teacher and coach and has never stopped living on a school-based calendar. And then, soon enough, came our own children and I was well and truly back to living on a school-based calendar - when August becomes an annual scramble to, first, find the school-supplies list, then figure out what we can recycle from the year before (in my books, 19 mostly-whole crayons left over from a 24-pack is close enough), and then buy the rest of the items new (like rulers, which I am convinced are shacking up somewhere in the house with the socks that go missing from the dryer).

We haul out clothes and I begin the negotiation process to get my son to try on everything and show me whether it still fits. (Cross-reference to my letter last month when I explained the finer details of the Visual Contact Rule of Parenting: Unless you see it, you cannot believe anything a child tells you about their attire. My son would head back to school with pants that end just below his earlobes, insisting all the while that he looks fine. However, I do need to give the kid props. Last year he insisted he had another couple of months left in his sneakers, so he didn't need a new pair to start the school year. And, bless his miserly soul, he was right.)

But, despite the frenzy of preparation, I still love this time of year. Maybe that's why we created a special party for this issue, a back-to-school party for parents (with plenty of suggestions for how to stage your own party plus a chance to win a party of your own!). Because, sure, we all joke about how much we celebrate when the kids are back at school, but who doesn't feel a little tug on the heartstrings that first day as you either walk them into the building or wave to them as they board the school bus?

We don't just celebrate that our children made it to a new grade. We celebrate because we did, too. So let's salute ourselves and all the exciting new adventures that await our families in the year to come!