Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back To School, Back To Sanity

The wails are nonstop in my home. “I want to stay home! I don’t want to go to school!” 

My poor child. Summer vacation is over, and he is facing the 2nd grade with 10th-grade level angst. Beach visits will now be few and far between, as will jaunts to railroad museums and parks. Getting up at 6:30 a.m., which has been done with ease that makes me and my husband groan, has suddenly turned into a chore for the boy. He faces the bus coming for him with all the enthusiasm of a man heading for a Siberian gulag. 

So off he goes, his forlorn face pressed to the window as he looks at me with an expression that clearly says, “How could you do this to me? I thought you loved me!” 

I wave with fake cheerfulness, feeling guilt well up in my gut. It’s like I kicked a puppy. 

I turn back to my house, trudge up the front steps, and open the door. And it hits me: for a few hours, I am free. 

Free. Free to shower in solitude. Showers over summer have become the time when Kiddo decides sitting on the toilet and telling me all about Angry Birds is a glorious occupation. And yes, he’s usually putting that toilet to use. It’s as if the sound of the shower awakens his bowels. They rouse immediately and shout, “We have a job to do!” My scented soap cannot compete. 

Free. Free to eat sushi in the Japanese restaurant at lunch. This is one of those places where Kiddo cannot find anything in compliance with his grease-sugar-mystery meat diet. Oh my gosh, I can sit in a place that does not have hot dogs on the menu. Sweet sushi liberty. 

Free. Free to go into Target and browse without shrieks of “Toys!” erupting my eardrums. Or any store. Kiddo is firmly convinced that every store in the universe contains toys somewhere and he must find one to buy. It’s a delight to not have his yells eclipse mine. “Purses! Shoes! Clearance sale!” 

Hubs and I have been feverishly planning our first day of school foray into town with the kind of excitement usually reserved for an all-expenses-paid cruise. It’s quite pathetic to note how much we’re trying to crowd into one day instead of understanding we have nine months of like days to come. But it’s been over two months of nonstop parenting. Yes, we treasure our child. However, something’s about to give. School has started just in the nick of time. 

When 3:00 rolls around, bringing our precious progeny back to us, we’re exhausted. We’ve crammed a lot of grown-up time in those few hours. It’s actually a relief to see our equally relieved son clamber off the bus and run into the house, bypassing all the unimportant stuff (me and his dad) for what he’s missed most of all (his tablet and computer games). In two hours the stress will return as the first homework assignment is brought out, but for now we’ll revel in having had some time to ourselves – and appreciate how good it is to have Kiddo home for a few hours before we ship him off again.

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