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Ain’t No Cure for the Start of School Blues

Aug20

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My kids start school in a few days. After our long, hot, busy summer, I know I should be really excited that we’re getting back to our regular routine. I mean, who isn’t happy when school resumes? Last year my friends and I actually popped open a bottle champagne at the bus stop. But right now, I’m feeling a little sad that they can’t stay home just a little while longer. I know, what the hell is wrong with me?

You’d think that after 70+ days with 8 and 10-year-old boys who’ve never once had an unexpressed thought, I’d be ready to enjoy some peace and quiet. Or at least a few hours where I don’t have to listen to someone’s breathless video game recaps. (“And then, the zombie tree was trying to get to the next level, but pew pew! I killed it for 50 points! Are you listening, mommy? And then the pig soldier…”) With two boys, their high energy friends, a work-at-home husband and a new kitten, our house has been nothing but a big noisy, messy circus all summer long. And I’m nothing but the incompetent ring master.

Besides the chaos, there’s also the constant requests for snacks, the non-stop sunscreen application and the daily reminders to not walk on the wood floors after you’ve just come out of the pool and oh my god why don’t you ever listen to me? And perhaps I should mention the three-week road trip we just returned from where the four of us were in a car together for 6,000 miles. Six thousand really, really, really long miles. Filled with burps, farts and enough scatological humor to make me wish I didn’t understand English. How I’m not standing outside their principal’s house right now with a megaphone yelling, “JUST OPEN THE FRICKIN’ DOORS, LADY!” is beyond me.

Despite all of that, when a letter came in the mail last week informing us that the first day of school was almost here, I completely shocked myself by tearing up. My concerned husband asked me what was wrong. “I don’t think I’m ready for the boys to be out of the house all day,” I dejectedly answered him. “Maybe we should think about home schooling them this year.”

“Hmmm,” he thoughtfully answered. “That’s something to consider. Whose home would we drop them off at? Is it close by?”

Okay, fine. So we both know that I wouldn’t be able to handle homeschooling for more than a day. Or an hour. Or a min…the point is I don’t have a lot of patience and I’d be really bad at homeschooling. Well, maybe I wouldn’t if I was allowed to assign oral reports on The Real Housewives of New Jersey and make laundry folding an accredited class. And if they could vacuum the house for their PE requirement. But the fact is, I’m just not ready for them get up and to leave me each morning.

Trust me when I say that these melancholic feelings are a completely new sensation to me. Back when they were smaller and even more high maintenance, I was always desperate for a break. I lived for the three hours a morning they were in preschool and then, once they started grade school for seven hours a day, I reveled in all the things I got done. It was like a prison furlough. But now they’re bigger and older—a third grader and a fifth grader—and they’re sweet, fun, smart boys who still think the best thing to do all summer is hang out with their mom and dad. Who can blame me for not wanting that to end? Because in the blink of an eye, they’ll be shaving, driving and dating and spending all day hanging out with their friends. The big noisy, messy summer circus will have left town. And the incompetent ring master will wonder why nobody’s dripping water on her floors.

But that’s how parenting works, right? And in all likelihood, by the time they’re teenagers, I’ll be more than happy that they’re not in the house with me all day. (I know my parents weren’t too sad when my fussy little teenage self started going to the beach without them.) But even so, when the first day of school comes around in a couple of days and I see that yellow school bus chugging our way, I’ll hug my boys tight. I’ll tell them to have fun with their friends and be nice to their teachers. I’ll be happy we all had such an enjoyable summer together. And in my heart I’ll know, on this first day of school, that everything is the way it should be.

And then I’ll have a gigantic glass of champagne, go inside the house and take a nap.

Photo Source: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

About the author

Wendi Aarons

http://wendiaarons.com
Wendi Aarons is an award-winning humor writer and blogger who lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and two sons. You can usually find her at Wendi Aarons, The Mouthy Housewives or starting fistfights near the 70% off rack at Target.


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8 Responses to “Ain’t No Cure for the Start of School Blues”

  1. Lisa Rae @ smacksy Aug 20 at 4:41 pm Reply Reply

    So beautifully put.
    This time while they still like us and we like them is bittersweet, I am already nostalgic for this experience even as it’s still happening.

  2. Missy Aug 20 at 4:58 pm Reply Reply

    Parenting is like having whiplash all the time. As eager as I am to have the routine back (really, really, so very eager), I’m sad another summer is coming to a close. Every day I feel elation (school is starting!), sadness (school is starting…), and a little guilt (I mentioned how eager I am to have my routine back, yes?).

    P.S. – you make me so excited about what’s to come as my boys get bigger. Watching them turn into people is pretty great.

  3. anna Aug 20 at 5:23 pm Reply Reply

    who knew the incompetent ringmaster could get teary, too. very sweet – though with 3, 6 and 8 year olds at my house i’m not quite at your place yet.

  4. suburbancorrespondent Aug 20 at 10:49 pm Reply Reply

    Wait – you mean I’m NOT allowed to assign PE credits for vacuuming?

  5. MommaKiss Aug 21 at 10:45 am Reply Reply

    My boys don’t really get a summer – they’re in the daycare year round, either for the summer program or after care during the school year…and I’m already sad that they miss out too much that way…we sort of cherish our weekends year round, knowing the same – the day will come when they don’t want to sit close and watch t.v. or hold my hand or tell me they want to marry me {still makes me melt}

    Anyway, just saying, I get ya. And wish I could do the cham thing that first day of school – I’ll be going back to work :(

  6. Becca Aug 24 at 8:51 am Reply Reply

    We have the same situation every summer. When the time school started, it was a big relief on my part. But every time they back home, I was excited to ask them their lessons and new friends.
    And you are exactly right, that’s how parenting works.

  7. Ellie {Musing Momma} Sep 05 at 11:46 am Reply Reply

    Although your boys are a few years older than mine, I can relate to so much of what you wrote! The parts about “never once had an unexpressed thought,” the breathless recaps, the high-energy friends…all so familiar! Hope the return to school goes (went?) well for all of you! (ps – found you through today’s Daily Buzz Moms)

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  1. Weekly Web Round-Up: Week of August 24, 2012 | NYMetroParents - Aug 24

    [...] the best thing to do all summer is hang out with their mom and dad.” In her essay “Aint No Cure for the Start of School Blues,” Aarons talks about the chaos of summer and the unending descriptions of her sons’ [...]

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