It’s a school night. Try on that phrase for size– “a school night.” Here, smack dab in the middle of August. Wait, no, it’s not even the MIDDLE of August yet, and here lies the first school night.
And with the cries of distress and moans of despair that accompany any premature, abrupt stoppage, the summer is simply…OVER. Tomorrow, you go back to school.
It hardly seems fair. I mean, it’s still summer. Pools are still open, and the days are still relatively long. People the world over complain about childhood obesity rates, yet students are forced back into desks, squirming as teachers try to make them care about French conjugations, algebra, and ancient history when by all rights you should still be riding around on your bikes, flirting dangerously with the “be home before dark” curfew.
Instead, you are forced back into your institute of educational wonder, which seems to come earlier and earlier each summer, in order to accommodate the various teacher enrichment days and standardized testing schedules, which MUST be done before the Christmas…oops, I mean Holiday break.
I feel your pain, children, I really do. I sympathize with your plight. I, too, enjoyed the summer. Just a short time ago, we kicked it off with the viewing of various superhero movies and lazy days hanging out in the backyard, trying to play badminton–that is until the dog ran through and practically destroyed the poles which held up the net. I liked not getting up at 5:30 in the morning in order to ensure that you were on a bus at an obscenely early time of day when not even your father was ready to head off to work.
But children, you must understand one thing. I am a parent. A stay at home parent, at that, and I admit that a part of me is looking forward to tomorrow in much the same way that tourists look forward to autumn in New England to look at leaves. You know the commercial in which the mother with the Wet Swiffer all of a sudden declares her job done and then grabs the basket of bath goodies and with joyful aplomb says, “I am going to use these?” That’s me, kiddos.
For I do not remember the last time I could go grocery shopping without receiving a text message from you. I don’t remember the last day that I was alone for longer than an hour at a time, my ears blissfully undisturbed by the squeals and shouts of adolescent females or the last time that my glass front door remained free of the grubby hand prints of pre-teen boys immediately after having been cleaned.
I don’t remember the last time I went to the gym, because, forgive me, I don’t wish for the two of you to wake up to an empty house, and there is this weird part of my psyche that insists that I am here when you get up in the morning. Perhaps it’s strange. I know it is.
Someday you will understand the flurry of activity that a mom undergoes on the last day of summer vacation. It is the day when every loose end gets tied up, when all chores are done. Because tomorrow, I am going to do NOTHING. While you are off at school, I am not even going to turn on the TV. I will bask in the blissful silence of a Tweedle-free house. I will sit around and drink coffee until 10:00, and perhaps I will even visit the art museum. Maybe I will sit by the pool and read a book. Whatever I do, it will be quiet. It will be clean. It will be, “Hey, Mom!” and text message free.
You’ll understand one day, children. Someday, you will understand that the love a mother has for her children conceivably has the power to make stars shoot across the sky, but Mama needs some time ALONE. You, too, will understand the magic which surrounds the phrase, “It’s a school night.”