Getting the Kids Back in School

School days, school daze—it’s almost all I hear at this time of the year. Kiddies are all excited about their new backpacks crammed with number-two pencils, three-ring binders, wide-ruled notebook paper, football trading cards, yo-yo’s, and whatever else they can sneak in. Yes, I’ve had those calls from the school about the rubber snake too.
Been there. Done that.

In spite of a few little setbacks, I was always happy when the kids were back in school. Free at last! After the summer started out as a lazy, carefree, holiday filled with activities like swimming, bike riding, and picnics, it soon turned sour and became a boring, whining, barrage of “Mom, I don’t have anything to do. I’m bored! Mom?”

No wonder I was out throwing rose petals in front of the school bus and celebrating with a good stiff drink of black coffee before going out for a manicure and a day of shopping to celebrate my escape.

Been there. Done that.

The kids’ excitement over the start of school lasted for about a week of getting up early, cramming down milk and cereal, and running to catch the bus—or until those homework assignments start cutting into after-school playtime with friends and favorite television programs.

Too soon they were dragging home after school with shirttails hanging out and the knee torn out of their new jeans. “I don’t want to look cute,” the ungrateful little snots whined—and this after the fit thrown for $70 tennis shoes to wear.

Now it’s probably, “My backpack doesn’t have wheels and neither do my shoes. I want a backpack like Joey’s. Mine is dumb! I hate my dumb backpack.”

Been there. Done that.

I have been in the driveway with the car’s motor running waiting for the kids to get home on the first day of school with “The List.” We would go straight to the discount store as soon as they got off the bus, so we could get their stuff before it was all sold out. Of course, it never worked since all the other moms were also in their driveways with motors running.

And why is it that the aisles with school supplies are never wide enough? Everyone is snatching, grabbing, and bumping as if they are going to quit making school supplies tomorrow, and they must get a full year’s supply today.

Been there. Done that.

I sneaked a peak on the Internet at the list of school supplies that kids must have nowadays. At least I never had to worry about things like hand sanitizer, zip-lock bags, and erasable markers. Guess such things were not invented, or else teachers hadn’t thought about putting them on The List yet.

I also couldn’t resist going down the school supply aisle at the Dollar Store, just to see what was there. It was amazing and little resembled the blue cloth notebooks, painted lunchboxes, and tiny scissors that wouldn’t cut of yesteryear.

Yep, I’ve served my time in the playpen. I’ve paid my dues. Kids will eventually grow up, believe it or not. School days will become a distant memory, revived only by the sight of a yellow school bus and the knowledge that you no longer have to worry about whether Johnny remembered his lunch money and if he will lose it before he gets there.

Been there. Done that.

The start of school to us in the privileged, no-school-age-children group, means little except more traffic during morning rush hour as teachers, buses, and carpools rejoin the madness. It means avoiding certain aisles at certain stores, where harried parents with The List and hyper children dig through mountains of school supplies looking for an item that is already sold out.

Been there. Done that.

Good luck! And I’m so glad it’s you now instead of me.

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