For the first time in seven years, I completely spaced a back-to-school article! Under ordinary circumstances, I’d have happily spent most of July composing a witty summer-sucks and homework-rules piece that debuts just as our little ones are boarding that beautiful yellow bus in August. But if you recall, last week’s lame column dealt with an uneventful vacation to South Carolina. What is WRONG with me?
I’ve thought a lot about possible causes for my literary amnesia and only managed one explanation: I just wasn’t ready for school to start. This is unusual, because normally I’m so irritated with “bored” kids, stupid XBOXes, sunburn prevention, exponentially-populating fruit flies, and the insane logistics of having four minions underfoot for ten weeks that I am quite literally popping some bubbly on that first magical morning of the new academic session.
But after barely surviving the horrendous winter as both a teacher and a mother, I needed the summer months of 2014 to get myself pulled back together, physically and mentally. My sanity demanded a break, one devoid of carpooling and lesson planning and the general school year chaos. And my kids are older now (even my youngest can ride a bike by herself to CVS for banned soda and candy), so the usual constant demands for my time and attention weren’t so constant or demanding. In fact, I rarely saw any of my offspring for more than about four hours a day: They weren’t waking up until noon and then often fled immediately to friends’ homes for more junk food contraband.
I felt like I’d just started to settle in to the stay-at-home mom groove (a much better gig than it was when I had toddlers periodically dumping cherry Kool-Aid down air vents) when registration and orientation information began arriving in the mail. Wait! I’m not ready! I’m assuming my mind put a mental block on the whole event, leading me to write about how hot the South is and how a splinter can ruin thhhhee daaaayyy. Pardon me, I just stifled a yawn.
So I’d like to apologize to parents everywhere for not acknowledging your probably-politically-incorrect-yet-perfectly-valid feelings of relief and guilt that summer vacay is finally over. Even though I don’t share your sentiments this year, know that I have certainly been in your shoes many times before. I firmly believe that children are not meant to be with their moms and dads for long periods of warm weather, and that school structure and routine are integral to parents staying off the booze.
Next July, please consider emailing a heads-up. That should give me plenty of time to write a killer back-to-school bit for the appropriate publication date. Peace out!