Back to school! Hurray! Time to do the happy dance! Actually, ugh.. I suppose as a mother of multiple children I should be ecstatic that there is actually a place that will whisk away my lovely cherubs for several hours every day. Believe me, by February, when the outside of my house is a fucking, snow-encased winter tundra, I am actually grateful for this intervention, but in late August… I am still enjoying my children. Still basking in the sun. Still holding onto summer because I dread September, and here’s why:
Waking up sleeping children is the worst. It goes against the sacred code of motherhood to wake a peacefully slumbering child. When I whisper to my youngest that it’s time to get up for school she literally rises up, growling and spitting like she is some sort of possessed Linda Blair-Exorcist demon creature. I am finding myself toying with the idea of giving her a cup of coffee this September. What is the acceptable age for that? 7? 8? This may be the year.
Clothes. I hate trying to get my children to wear suitable school attire. After a summer of waking up and pulling on yesterday’s still slightly damp and sandy bathing suit, the donning of underwear is a completely alien concept to them.
Grocery shopping. In the summer I prefer to have all of my meals delivered, by Al, the ice cream man, who tends to hover outside my house. What he can’t provide I can generally fill in with items bought at the gas station. Going back to school requires that I actually go to the grocery store because apparently, children need things like fresh produce and proper nutrition to succeed at school. Things like lunch. I hate making lunches: this one wants a turkey sandwich: no cheese, mustard, no mayo, two pieces of lettuce, crusts off, cut into triangles. This one wants turkey in one bag, bread in another and lettuce in yet another. God forbid you put all of those ingredients together into one convenient little invention that has been around for thousands of year called a SANDWICH! And oh, this one only eats peanut butter, but it is not allowed at their school and we just got a note home saying no shellfish either. Seriously? I want to know, who is the parent that is sending their kid to school with a thermos full of Cioppino?
The Forms. I hate the multitude of forms that come home that first week of school with that writing across the top that they all must be completed ASAP or your child will be drawn and quartered by the front desk staff. Health forms, bus forms, general school information forms. Didn’t I fill out all of these exact same forms last year? Believe me, nothing has changed in my life since June. Nothing. Nada. I spent the last eight weeks sitting in the sand like a beached Beluga, so how could anything change? Every year as I fill out these mindless sheets, I find myself becoming a bit unhinged so that by the last form, under the Mother’s Occupation section I am typically writing something like Chief Toilet Shiner, Master of Frozen Dinners, Filler-Outer-Of-All-Insane-Forms, Comedian to the Stars. Mother’s work schedule: Monday through Sunday, 24/7, 365 days a year.
The Cheques. I hate writing out all of those annoying cheques for sports, music lessons, class funds, field trips, lab equipment, etc. A cheque here, a cheque there, who even uses cheque anymore? Please, can someone just calculate the huge amount of money I will most certainly owe the school department over the next twelve years, and I will gladly hand over my debit card and password. Believe me, me and my bottle of wine can handle it, and I am sure it would save a lot of trees if I didn’t have to write out so many goddamn little cheques here and there.
But the thing that gets to me the most about September; the one thing that I really hate, is sitting out on the porch in the morning, wrapped in my sweater, and watching as all of my children pile on to that school bus, because as that big yellow bus pulls away and I see all of those little faces pressed against the glass windows, I think to myself…another year will soon be gone.