The ups, downs and overall delights of parenthood
Sep 1, 2010
I Love the Start of School (?)
'It's the most wonderful time of the year!' is the Christmas song – and Staples' back-to-school commercial theme song
I remember when I was a kid and those back-to-school ads would start cropping up in July. I felt sick at the idea of summer ending.
Summer was a whole different world: Sleeping in everyday and being able to do anything I wanted, unencumbered by homework, teachers, exams and projects. Heaven! Of course, by August it was starting to get old. The bikes we dragged out at the first hint of warmth back in March were collecting cobwebs in the garage by late August. Even back then, I had to admit that summer went on a bit long.
But the idea of walking into nine interminably long months of school in September was unbearable.
As a parent, I know this summer business is tough. I mean, two and a half months is a looooong time to have to entertain the kiddos. And it seems no matter what wonderful thing we do, whether it's play dates at the park or a vacation at the lake, the minute we get home, the kids strike up the chorus: "I'm boooooooored!"
So, after a languid summer – in which time has moved slowly and my family even MORE slowly – I'm ready to get our girls back into school.
This year Patti, who has always loved school, doesn't want it to come. She's having too much fun. But Suzi is bored, bored, bored of sitting around the house. She's desperately, horrifically, theatrically bored. And although sitting in class is not her favorite thing, there are 25 other kids and recesses involved, so she's ready to go.
But something in me feels a tad nervous at the idea. I guess it's because I've been fooled before. Fooled into believing that things calm down in September.
In late August, my own parental back-to-school anxiety began. I received a note about PTO committees at the girls' school reminding me of the many preparations to be done BEFORE school starts. I have to get back to work on my committee and start planning for the various events we'll host. Oh my!
The girls have been living in sundresses and flip-flops all summer, but I know their shoes from last school year probably don't fit anymore. We haven't gone clothes shopping yet!
Then there are all new leotards and tights and shoes for dance classes.
We don't even know who their teachers or classmates are yet. Will they be with their good friends – or will we have to revisit the anxiety of walking into classrooms where they claim they don't know ANYBODY?
Back in May I assured myself I would pack away all of their old papers and artwork and start the new year fresh. But sure enough, all that stuff remains jammed into spaces where it just doesn't belong. I have to find the time to store all that stuff away before the new school paper onslaught begins.
Will there be time before school to get it all done?
And then, once school starts, what about homework? Sure, I will get stuff done during the day. But the minute the kids walk through the door, there will be homework to help with and field trips permission slips to misplace and bagel money to forget. And what about the confusing half-days off I won't write down and the volunteer opportunities I'll let myself get talked into even though I'm already doing more than I can possibly handle so what the heck was I thinking joining one more committee?
Maybe I do still wish summer went on forever ...