Back in yon day, school started at the end of August. My poor friend Teri has a late-August birthday and many of her special days were completely ruined by the first or second day of school.
Not anymore. My kids are still home, thanks to some recent Michigan legislation that forces public schools to begin on the Tuesday following Labor Day. Our social media feeds show kids from other states already back in the classroom; the shine has worn off the new backpacks and the bus drivers have mastered their routes.
Not in our house. In our house we’ve moved beyond summer fun to holy-crap-we’re-out-of-things-to-do. This is actually the first summer I’m not the one going crazy. The kids are finally old enough that they neither want nor need my constant, hovering attention. They’re just fine without me for hours on end. I’ve had complete thoughts and time to myself for the first summer since 2003. I feel like a new woman!
No, it’s the kids who are losing it. They’ve lost that summer glow. They’ve lost their wills to live. They’ve done all the swimming and the biking and the ice cream eating. Audrey’s dying to see her friends. Caleb’s dying to get back to the math. (That last part is a total lie.)
Yesterday they came with me to the office and Audrey sat in the visitor’s chair across from my desk. She stared sullenly at me for many consecutive minutes, until I finally cried, “Get out of here! You’re making me crazy!”
“But what can I do? I’m so bored,” she whined.
“I don’t care! I don’t care! Go take a nap on a couch. Take your brother and walk to Walgreen’s. I don’t care, just stop staring at me!”
I left them home alone today. They’ve probably watched six straight hours of television and had Fruity Pebbles for lunch, washed down with brownies and chocolate milk.
Fine. As long as I don’t have to see it directly, I don’t care. We’re in survival mode for the last free week.
Jen Hatmaker recently wrote a blog post for Today.com Parenting, and she put it like this:
Part of the reason Back to School is such a shock treatment is because we’ve spent the majority of our summer basically running a frat house. No schedules, no bedtimes, no fixed mealtimes, no mental development, no worries. What? You want cereal for lunch? At 2:30pm? Fine. It’s a free country. Summer Happy Hour starts in an hour and a half, so you just do you, man.
Amen, Jen Hatmaker. Amen.
While we haven’t spent the entire summer in Frat House Mode, I think a week won’t kill us. At this point it’s all about simple survival, and praying we all make it out alive.
How’s it going at your house?