I’m not sure when it hit me that school really was in. Was it when I was standing at the register at Staples, my mouth hanging open as the girl at the register told me my total was $84? Just for paper, pencils, and the 30 +/- items on the school supply lists that were sent home??? Was it when I waited in lines a mile long just to return a pair of jeans at Ross for a bigger size for my growing boy, or to turn in my daughter’s paperwork at school, or to excitedly whip out my checkbook one more time to cover costs of a couple locker locks, a PE uniform, and all the other exorbitant fees that add up little by little to a number that far exceeded the total of last year’s Christmas bill? Not sure. But as the first week of school is winding down, I can’t help but feel like I have just experienced an all week bender and have barely had time to catch my breath after being sucker punched.
Welcome back to school.
Of course I am happy to do it. Sure, my bank account is slightly smoking as it goes into the red. And I think I’ve only had 20 hours of sleep this week. But the kids are leaving the house. HEAR THAT TEACHERS? THEY’RE YOUR PROBLEM NOW!!! MWUHAHAHAHA!!!! For 7 happy hours, my house is free of kids who complain that there’s nothing to eat, nothing to do, and nothing to wear. During the school day I am free of squabbling kids, spontaneous messes, and dishes that fill the sink and still haven’t learned to do themselves. I am willing to pay hundreds of dollars for this kid-free vacation!
Oh, wait. I did.
Of course, there’s one aspect of this bahama-esque rendezvous on my 7 hour island with no kids that does not fill my heart with joy. And that’s the mad dash in the start of school chaos. Numerous forms need to be filled out, and then we have to sign about 20 pages promising that we have read the handbooks and will follow the rules, that our kids will follow the rules, that everything we stated is fact, that we are being given a new puppy if our child misbehaves, and that that the school is not liable if there is an emergency. Our checkbooks (surprise!) are required again as field trips are accounted for, picture forms are sent home, and we have to supply the teachers with either money or 20 boxes of Kleenex and hand sanitizer. And we have to adapt to getting up earlier, coordinating schedules to a tee, and not freaking out when a wrench is thrown in the system by a last minute soccer practice time change or the fact that we ran out of milk the night before and nobody let me know before I started brewing my coffee in the morning. Yes kids, I’m talking to you.
But we have had some successes in this journey. The schedule that I have actually mapped out for the past several weeks, reorganizing it and shifting some things around, actually works. Both kids are getting to school on time, and making it home in one piece. The house is not falling apart from lack of time to keep it up. School lunches are actually tiding the kids over for the whole school day. The kids are being rockstars in their efforts to go to bed at night and get up in the morning on time, getting ready for school with enough time left over to laugh over videos on YouTube. And this year feels much less stressful than it did this time last year when I was ready to pull my hair out and just give up.
At any rate, we survived. Just barely, but the first week is over. And I have never looked forward to the weekend so much! How did your family fare?