I wanted to tell you about the first day of school, because that’s what all moms want to talk about. Some will tell you how heartbroken they are to gingerly place their baby into the school system. Others will jump for glee, fist-pumping their way onto the school grounds as their grumpy kids trudge behind. Myself?
Both. Or neither. I dunno. I’m too damn tired to even know.
I tried to be prepared and engaging that morning. Up early, steaming mug of coffee in hand, I cooked the requisite “first day back” breakfast (read: NOT cereal. Or granola bars. Or… bread.). Woke sleepy children, sweetly urging them to get dressed in the clothes that we had selected with care & laid out the night before. Spoke words of cheer and encouragement, and even added extra honey to the French toast. And smiled.
Time started to flow more quickly. Breakfast was half eaten by chatty children; the same children who wouldn’t bother speaking to a sibling last week until at least 10am; that is, to argue over the remote.
Child #1 (age 11) decided to ditch the pre-chosen outfit in favor of an outfit straight out of Miley Cyrus’ closet- that is, if Miley Cyrus still wore clothes. Child #1 was quickly dispatched back upstairs to try again.
Child #3 (age 7) decided to suddenly give a crap about what he was wearing, and decided to change last minute. Into a thermal orange shirt and plaid shorts. Child #3 has good reflexes, so he dodged the shoe I threw in his direction and eventually changed.
Child #2 (age 9) decided that at ten minutes to departure, now would be a good time to unpack EVERY SINGLE ITEM in her backpack. Because she wanted to double check that it was all in there. And it was. Until she unpacked it, and left out the tissue boxes.
(Keep in mind that while this was happening, Children #s 4 & 5 were gleefully swiping their older siblings’ French toast remnants & gobbling them, syrup and all. In the living room.
Pictures. Have to take the pictures. The only way that people will even know that my kids are clothed, cute, and back in school is by pictures on Facebook, right?
Me: “Take the picture. Smile, you look so cute. Move your little sister out of the picture. No; don’t PUSH her out of the picture. Now she’s crying. I don’t like that your smiling now, even if it’s for the picture.. now let me take the damn picture!!
NOW is the time we started to develop a flurry in front of the front door, as backpacks swung into little people’s faces, the baby wailed as he was strapped into his car seat, and we all spilled out of the house like a parade of drunk circus clowns. Because God forbid children walk in a straight line down the walkway to the car…. dew and grass bits clinging to their tiny feet, we get in the car. Finally.
The heart’s pounding faster. NO, I’m not having pangs of melancholy emotion as my babies are soon to leave. I’m stuck in the F*** endless line of cars jammed in front of the school. Did I get a spot on the block? Yes, I did. But I didn’t want to give the drivers behind me a coronary by trying to parallel park, so I… opted for the “let me angle myself an inch at a time back and forth as not to hit the cars I’m squeezing between” method. A socially polite option, but time consuming.
8:36am: Yanking double stroller from the trunk, the single stroller atop it clanks to the ground. I jammed it back in, began unloading my passengers with my mantra:
Me: “Get out of the car. Hurry up. Get out of the car. We have to hurry. Get out- I said, GET OUT OF THE CAR. And HURRY.”
We hustled along the sidewalk, me leading the way with a trail of children behind me like a demented Pied Piper. Made it to the front doors of the school, smiled and kissed my kids as they made their way into the building.
Good parents know the drill. In the moments when the insanity dies down, the thoughts creep in. Did I hug #1, or just kiss the top of her head? Did I say the things #2 needed to hear in order to feel confident starting anew today? Did I show them enough love and fun this summer for them to feel refreshed and excited about a new year? Where is #4??
I walked back to the car in near silence with the little guys. We got into the car, and I was thoughtful. I felt glad to reduce the chaos that filled every day, even by a little. The sense of calm when we walked in the door at home was soothing. I was glad to have more time to get things done, but missed my big guys. A lot.
#s 4 & 5 began bouncing on the couches.
#4 eagerly announced her peeing accident, on her brothers’ floor (DON’T tell him!)
#5 stripped off her diaper during naptime. Her POOPY diaper, of course.
#4 swiped Saltines from the pantry. But she’s generous, so she shared with #5. All over the living room floor. Again.
At least I have 178 more times to get it right….
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