Tag Archives: school

Welcome, Day of Sweet Repose

Yes, officially it may be Labor Day.  A day intended to celebrate work and also the symbolic end of summer.  However, for me today is a day to recover from the first week of school, and to mourn the end of summer.

The first week of school is really tough.  Adjusting to rising early, making a good impression on the new teachers, getting all the homework done.  No, not the kids.  ME!

The horrid beeping of the dreaded alarm aside, the first week is full of assignments for the parents.  This early in the year, I’m still trying to give the illusion that I have it all together.  By the end of the year, it is unquestionably apparent that I do not, but I start out each year using slight of hand tricks to cover the truth.

Monday started out well.  I got all 4 of the dreaded “first day packets” filled out.  It even seemed less time consuming this year.  Maybe after 12 years, I’m finally getting it.  I even filled out the “describe your child” sheet for Eric, which I find extremely difficult.  “Five adjectives that best describe your child.”  OK Miss Teacher, do you want me to describe my child or really describe my child?

Abrasive, Combative, Volatile, Obnoxious and Selfish.  No, that’s is how his brothers would describe him.

Argumentative, Whiny, Defiant, Forgetful, Lazy.  No, that’s only when asked to do chores.

Brilliant, Enchanting, Enthusiastic, Responsible, Dazzling.  No, too kiss up.

Kind, Bright, Funny, Happy, Stubborn.  Simple, with a negative thrown in for a reality check.  Bingo.

Truthfully, I don’t remember which adjectives I ended up using.  I know stubborn stayed.  The rest were probably barely legible because I changed my mind so much I almost erased right through the paper.  Immediately I put the paperwork in the kids’ backpacks to be returned the next day.  Put one in the win column.

Eric came home Tuesday with all the papers still in his folder, exactly where I had proudly placed them.  Are you kidding me??  “Teacher, teacher, I did my homework.  I did it all.  I did my best.  But…my dog ate it?  Well, my kid ate it.  Or forgot to turn it in.  Something like that.”  Come on Eric.  Let me look good past the SECOND day of school!

One of my other homework tasks for Eric’s class is to sign his agenda every day.         Simple enough.  Illegible initials in the signature box.  Check.  On Thursday I notice – in bid red letters – a note from the teacher.  A note that was written on TUESDAY.  In addition to not turning in my homework, he didn’t turn in his time capsule.  Apparently I’m not JUST supposed to sign the agenda.  I’m supposed to actually READ it first.  Maybe the teacher needs to add flashing lights and sirens next time.

In the backpack the time capsule went, to be turned in first thing Friday.

Sigh.  First homework assignment 3 days late.

Friday afternoon I notice an envelope on the couch.  That looks similar to that troublesome time capsule envelope.  No way.  Are you kidding me??  No, really.  Someone must be messing with me.

Sigh.  First homework assignment 4 days late.

If it actually gets there tomorrow.

Trying to keep the illusion going this year is going to require some smoke and mirrors. And maybe a rabbit. 

There they go, just a walking down the street. Singing Do Wah Diddy Diddy Dum Diddy Do.

This school year, we had a dilemna.  Are Eric and Greg are old enough to walk home from school alone?  After going back and forth (and back and forth and back and forth), we decided yes.  Since we live less than a mile from the school, we do not have bus service.  Up until this point, someone has picked them up every day.  There are walking paths and sidewalks the entire route home and there will be 4-5 kids walking together.  No big deal, right?

Today was the first day of school.  They were very excited about the big walk.  As the day progressed, scenarios went through my head of things going wrong.

  1. What if they forget they are supposed to walk home and stand out in front of the school waiting for me.   The other Moms will think I forgot to pick up my kids on the very first day!  How embarrassing will that be???  Yeah, my first “worry” was what others would think, not safety.  Mom of the year here.
  2. One of the paths goes near a busy road.  What if they are goofing around and go off the path?  What if they get too close to the road with the cars whizzing by??  At least my SECOND worry was safety.  I redeemed myself.  A little.
  3. What if Eric and Greg get in an argument?  They have reached the age that arguments between them usually turn physical.  I pictured them rolling around in the grass, wrestling and punching as their buddies cheered “Fight. Fight. Fight.”
  4. What if they get lost?  They could be wandering through the woods hours later in the dark.  We’ve walked that way many times so that thought was most ridiculous, but it was still a thought.

I finally calmed my fears by deciding to walk half way to meet them.  That was a good compromise for the first day.  I knew they wouldn’t be happy to see me intruding on their “big boy freedom” but that’s ok.

At dismissal time, I strolled out of the house thinking of a good response to the “why are you here, Mom?” question when I met them.  “It’s just such a pretty day, I decided to walk also.”  That wouldn’t really be convincing as I had sweat dripping from the 95 degree heat.  Oh well, stalker Mom it is.

I got half-way to the half-way point when it dawned on me – there are two different ways they could walk home.  We hadn’t discussed which way they were going to walk.  If I picked the wrong path, I would miss them completely and they would go home to an empty house and think Mom didn’t even care enough to be home to see how their first day went.  I turned around and walked back home.  At least they won’t know I was helicopter Mom now.

Twenty minutes after dismissal passes and they still aren’t home. Common sense told me dismissal takes longer than normal on the first day and the kids aren’t going to sprint home, but I still wondered if one of my premonitions had happened.  To the car I go.  I drive to the end of our street and as I turn onto the next street, I see them.  Almost home.  Not on the route I was walking on to meet them, of course.  They were happily walking on the side-walk, grinning from ear to ear.  I thought about slouching down in the seat and backing down the street back to our house so they wouldn’t see me, but it was too late.

They walked over to my car and, as predicted, Eric says “What are you doing?”  I sheepishly respond, “just checking.”  He gave me the one eyebrow raised look that I know too well.  As they are standing in the road by my car talking to me, I realize that THIS moment is probably the LEAST safe moment of their walk.  Way to go Mom.

After the friends go to their houses, Eric and Greg sprint home.  They get to our driveway faster than I can drive there.  They race to see who can get on the video game system the quickest as they yell “we don’t have homework, but YOU do!”

I guess they really are ready to walk home alone.  It’s me that isn’t.