Oh I’m suffering. I’m a sad, suffering soul. I’m a mother on the edge. And why? Why so bleak? Why so grey? I’m mired in the post-back-to-school blues.
All my kids are back to their day jobs and just like every September, I’m blue. Do I miss them? Do I long for their moist little bodies to be pressed against me whining for a Freezie as I try to make a pot of coffee? Do I want more than anything to hear those 3 special words that ring out round the Western world during summer vacation–Mom, I’m bored!? Or yet, do I miss Popsicle sticks stuck to the carpet? Or the shock of the water bill from the hose being left on all day? Or the scent of wet puppy that assaults my senses as pre-adolescent boy brushes past me–why, oh why do boys smell like wet dogs? Or, or, or, do I miss the sound of Mario Cart blaring through the house at 7:00 A.M.?
Well my friends my answer is plain: Yes. Yes I do. I miss all these things and more. All the irritating, frustrating, nose-picking, sibling-scraping, knee-scraping misery of 2 months with my kids. I miss it because, honestly, it’s easier and far, far preferable than the agonizing, soul-twisting back-to-school angst.
Maybe it’s just me. I mean, some kids seem happy to go back to school. Some kids look forward to it. Not mine though. My kids torture themselves, and me.
My oldest daughter moves away to university during the year, so 2 weeks preceding her going back to school is fraught with drama. She’s a wreck, and her coping mechanism is to whine, whinge, stomp, and storm, typically at me, and typically ramping up to a good old strop by 11 P.M. at which time she wants me to have all the answers. But any answer I produce, good, bad, terrible or drunken (which is more regular in the lead up to school) is shot down like the Red Baron. And I suffer the ignominious defeat of the vanquished (in other words, I snap, tell her I don’t have any answers for my own feeble life, let alone hers, and march off to bed!)
But does the excitement stop there? On no my friends, it’s only just begun. There also lives in my house the worlds only tortured existentialist 8-year old. His worries go far beyond which Lego set he wants to save up for, or whether his sister got a bigger cookie than he did–he spends late in to the night obsessing. Particularly when the anxiety of back-to-school sets in. Like, leaving the hallway light on when he’s falling asleep. He needs the light on in the hall to feel calm and safe enough to fall asleep, but leaving the light on uses power and using power is polluting our planet which is melting the Arctic ice which will result in the death of all the Polar Bears, so he can’t sleep without the light, but he can’t sleep with the light! Or the other day, from the back of the minivan, he was deeply disappointed when I couldn’t explain how our souls animate our bodies and what feature of our souls is it that makes us unique. And who does he come to when he needs answers to these existential crises? Me. ME? Poor little poo. Man alive! I can barely keep him in matching socks.
So I dread September. I dread the exhaustion of dragging the barge filled with my progeny’s back-to-school fears, angst, and insecurities. Give me the simple days of the hysterical teenage antics after her brother pantses her in the front yard, or my 6-year olds 17 damp changes of clothes, per day, lying on the floor (any floor in the house, in fact, any horizontal surface in the house), or the perpetually sticky, perpetually syrupy nature of the kitchen table after a Captain-Crunch-salt-and-vinegar-chip-Monopoly marathon (that resulted in near fatal amounts of blood loss), or the constant noise, the constant chaos, the constant kids.
Yeah. Just give me the simple days of summer.