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Monday, August 27, 2012

Sharpen Your Pencils (Aug. 27, 2012)

There are approximately 72 hours left. My freedom has an expiration date, I’m afraid. School is starting in three days. Oh, I don’t mean to be thaaaaaaat dramatic. Technically I won’t be losing my actual freedom (and I know there are places where people—especially women—truly don’t have freedom of choice so I must keep my situation in perspective). But the school year is a marathon I’m not ready for yet. A few days ago I opened an email from the school and—no exaggeration—it had a nineteen-page newsletter attached. Nineteen. A lot of it didn’t really apply to our family, but still. I guess they want us to jump in with both feet. School’s coming, whether I’m ready or not.


Where did summer go? For a season filled with longer days of sunlight, it sure sped by in an instant. I know what the problem is. Summer is too short. They expect us to decompress from the frantic pace of the school year in nine or ten short weeks. (Note to universe: the weekend is also too short.) I spent the first two weeks exhausted from the final lap in the school year. Finally I regained some energy, and then it was time to tackle the things we’d put off during the school year. For us, summer is less stressful in that there aren’t as many fixed deadlines about what time to get to places, and what is due when. But maybe the idea that summer will be calmer is just an illusion. Well, in all honesty, some of it is me. I say I want relaxation but I find new projects if I have more than a few days of lull. I joined the community garden this summer, which was great. Then I decided to paint the mural there, which took several weeks, and that was all my choice. But I still feel like I could use an extension on summer. If you can get one from the IRS, shouldn’t you be able to get one from elementary school?


I will confess that there’s one thing that I’m a little excited about this fall: Halloween. Oh, I’m still dragging my feet, wanting to hold onto the last wisps of summer, but yesterday in Michaels (my favorite store) I was checking out the Halloween decorations. (They were set up July 5, I presume, as a nocturnal band of elves took down the red, white and blue.) Halloween is pure fun.


But let’s get back to the complaint at hand: the start of school. I’m so not ready for the endless cycle of packing lunches, prying sleepy eyes open each morning, racing against the clock to get there, nagging about homework, coaching through book reports, the tangle of cars in the parking lot, and repeating every day for nine months.


But there will be good moments too, I know. Seeing familiar faces, dressing up for Halloween, and marveling over how much the kids are learning.

Parents, take your places. Kids, sharpen your pencils. Ready? (No.) Set? GO!

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