for the first time since 1989 c and i have no children going back to school. well, not as students at least, we do have one teacher and one high school color guard instructor.
it’s an odd feeling to be so disassociated with a large part of the population and i have to admit to feeling a bit melancholy. of course i’m nostalgic remembering the days of first day of school outfits and the smell of new backpacks and crayons, crisp notebooks, freshly sharpened pencils and brown bag lunches lined up on the kitchen counter. i’m conveniently forgetting about dragging kids out of bed, hounding them to do their homework or praying that for once they would practice their instrument without having to be nagged.
in spite of having them around 24/7 in the summer, it was a much less stressful time than during the school year. not caring what they wore, not caring as much about what they ate, not caring what time they got up, not completely monitoring their tv watching and only caring about what time they went to bed because it meant time for c and i to spend together. there were fewer free hours in the day, but summer didn’t have all the details and deadlines.
i was sometimes a full-time working mom and sometimes a stay-at-home mom during all those years and i can tell you that either way, starting up with school again is a stressful endeavor. just getting past the excruciatingly detailed supply lists and attempting to get three kids with very distinct personalities to do something as simple as choosing a backpack (let alone a pair of shoes) was a job in and of itself. to no one’s surprise a new study just came out which showed that women felt less stress at work than at home.
the years we had one child in elementary school, one in middle school and one in high school were hectic beyond description. each school had a different start and end time and only the elementary school had transportation. c drove the first one when he left for work, i drove the second one and the third one got dragged along for the ride because he was too little to be left home alone. after that, the third one got walked to the bus stop or to school. i had a giant whiteboard calendar that showed all the various school requirements and activities for three kids in three schools and every inch of it was filled with notes.
just taking a stab at attending all three back-to-school nights was a challenge. one year a school board member spoke at the middle school back-to-school night and kind of lectured parents about being involved with their kid’s education and getting to know the kid’s teachers and assignments, etc. sounds like a reasonable thing to say and i daresay that c and i were appropriately involved in our kid’s schooling (meaning: we were not helicopter parents).
either that school board member only had one child or never had the experience of three kids in three separate district schools, but either way, i wanted to let him know how daunting the task could be. i wrote him an email and politely let him know that i agreed with him in principle, but asked how we were supposed to get to know about all of kid’s classes and teachers when there were about 20 classes 28 teachers. yep, three kids had a total of 28 different teachers. add in coaches and instrumental teachers and your head might just explode.
so why am i nostalgic about all that? because in spite of it all, raising kids was still one of the best parts of my life and there are times when i miss it.
happy back-to-school kids and parents! hope you have a wonderful year.