At 8:30 this morning, I began one of the happiest tasks of my entire year. It’s a seasonal joy that ranks up there with trimming the Christmas tree, planting the Spring flowers, or stocking the beach bag. I am bursting with a joy that needs to be shared. I organized the back-to-school-supplies! I think I have a buzz.
A few years ago, Staples had a commercial that became an instant classic. You probably know the one I mean, with Andy Williams singing “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” as a dad gleefully filled the cart. Yeah. Right now I’m that dad. Between rotating camp schedules, kids who think they should be entertained 24/7, and every pop-up road trip being marred by record-level road construction, I’m done. I love summer. LOVE it. Always have. But now I am embracing September as the perfect month. I’ll jack up the heat and whirl up a margarita if I need a summery smile. I gotta tell ya it would have to be some pretty solid Cuervo to make me feel as giddy as I do this moment writing Son1’s name on 27 places on folders, binders, and sundry supplies that’ll be lost in week anyway.
The only time I can recall feeling this happy for school related reasons was when late August meant back to college time. I attribute it to the feeling of impending freedom I felt. Right now, I’m less than 24 hours from freedom… freedom to go to work and know that from 8:45 through 3:00, my kids are in one place for recurring days and weeks, with no ride or pickup needed midday. Just off in the morning, and clear sailing until late afternoon when there’s an after school program. What’s more, next week, it will be exactly the same thing. And the week after that. And the week after that. For months on end, my days will be more predictable. Including their transit time, and barring any calls from the principal, school nurse, or school disciplinarian, I can rely on seven hours of just work time. It just took me five minutes to type that sentence because I was laughing too much to keep my fingers on the keyboard.
I won’t be spending days relaxing in the backyard, gardening, or jogging midday. I really am this stupid-happy at the mere thought of sitting in my office sure in the knowledge my 12 year old is accounted for, for nearly a full business day each day. No one can call and ask me something his father answered two seconds before. No one can call three times to ask if I take them bowling, to a movie, to Six Flags. It will be bliss. I may finally get work done. I’m especially looking forward to nearly eight tattle-free hours, since people in my office usually don’t unravel into whinefests of allegations over missing Wii controllers. They also won’t normally race to the laser printer tackling each other to make sure they got the last copy of whatever was sitting there.
There’s a bit of delusion tucked inside my euphoria, a little inflated optimism. There’s something so promising about all the clean binders, untorn folders, and unchewed pen caps. I know in a week this stuff will all look like it was run over by a truck. I know my color coding system for each subject will be totally ignored. Well I shouldn’t say totally. Son1 will ignore it. Son2, Felix to his brother’s Oscar, will take two weeks to develop his own system which will be so elaborate it will look like DNA sequencing while making mine look like three patterns of Garanimals characters. I know I’m going to curse under my breath like a sailor each time a project assignment comes home. I know the wonderfully laid out soccer and tutoring schedule balance will be shot to hell in three weeks, max. But all this can’t kill my buzz. I’m like those people who rack up New Years resolutions that they know are futile but doggedly make them each year.
I also just remembered that as if all that wasn’t enough, this Sunday, church school starts up again. So now we can sit and listen to the service without squirming kids forcing the most highly unchristian thoughts in our heads. September bonus!
It’s official, Mommy’s in her happy place… all week.