Ain’t No Cure for the Start of School Blues
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.
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