(This picture doesn't have anything to do with the following post, but I like a colorful blog, don't you?)
School starts three weeks from today.
Further proof that God is good.
I have an older friend, in her mid-seventies, who raised three children. She claims that at the beginning of every summer she went to the doctor and updated her Valium prescription. This is how she survived the months from June to September.
If medication stronger than Ibuprofin didn't send me into a deep slumber, a prescription for sedatives would be quite the summertime temptation.
All my conversations with other parents the last month have primarily concerned the wonders of year-round schooling. Even Amy, who homeschools. We all wonder if our friend, Danielle, is privately gloating. Her kids are in year-round school. She's been a free woman (other than the lunch-making, the car-pooling, the dragging unwilling children out of bed thing) since July 18th.
It's not the lack of freedom that concerns me, actually. When my children are being cheerful and lovely, it's a pleasure to have them around. They amuse themselves, read, talk on the phone with friends. They say funny things and ask interesting questions. When I take the dog on a walk, they want to go with me and chat about the wonders of our neighborhood.
The problem is, they've been cranky since July 5th. They've broken out in fist fights in the aisles of Target. They've sulked about being taken on nature hikes ("It's too hot!" "I'm tired!), bickered about who gets to use the Scooby-Doo towel, and generally made life miserable for everyone in a five-mile radius.
Summer vacation is a nice idea in theory, but it doesn't work all that well in practice. Maybe for three weeks. It really goes downhill after July 4th. The kids miss their routine. Even with daily trips to the pool and an expanded chore list, there's not enough for them to do. It is the curse of the non-farming middle class. Where is the meaningful work for kids?
Lately, the Man and I have taken to torturing the kids with back-to-school talk. They make faces, act like they can't stand the thought. But I remember back in the day, how right around the beginning of August, I started looking forward to the first day of school. It was the true beginning of the new year, a chance to start over, an opportunity to invest in that most wonderful of investments--new school supplies. I loved arranging them just-so on the floor of my bedroom.
Was my mother's step a little lighter, too? Her countenance more cheerful? Did she take frequent breaks from washing dishes or making the beds to rub her hands with glee? Being a child, I was too self-centered to notice. But now, a mother myself, I'm pretty sure I know the answer.
Twenty-one days. The only question is, will I survive them?
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