IT WAS ABOUT a week ago that we had to face it. School was actually going to begin this year smack dab in the middle of August. We wouldn’t be done with summer fun nor the summer heat. But school would come anyway.
SINCE THAT MOMENT I feel I have been chasing my cart, flinging vinyl folders and glue sticks and disinfectant wipes into it like I’ve won a shopping spree without one bit of the fun. I have slid into meetings and practices and orientations by the skin of my teeth, sat through them restlessly – feeling I should be at least three other places at once, and escaped them with my head spinning. I have carved schedules into the calendar, willing it to make more sense so I can figure out how to be all the places with all the things and the proper kid in tow. I’ve met teachers, learned a new locker combination, paid last year’s late fee for after-school care, returned home for forgotten things and then back to the orientation for more, signed up for parent-teacher conferences as IF I will remember to transfer my note to myself onto calendars I will actually look at, and covered my eyes to keep from thinking about picture day, picture packages, year books, lunch money, birthday snacks, holiday party favors, and every other thing that costs more of my money or time or calendar space. In a word, I am tired.
AND BESIDES THAT, I’m already disappointed in myself for the meetings I will miss and the times I won’t volunteer because I just can’t get my head around my schedule that far in advance and the papers I won’t see because I’m too lazy to dig to the bottom of the backpack just in case and the days I forget the lunch money or the library books and nights when homework goes undone because WHEN do you do homework when you go straight from school to practice to supper to bed? And that makes me tired too.
I drop them off tomorrow morning for the first day. And I promise you I will be equal parts panic and relief. Relief that we have finally found routine again. Panic that maybe I have failed already.
The only thing I know to do, is let go. I’m pretty sure the only way I fail them now is if I send them in tomorrow covered in the carnage from my rampage. If I don’t face this bravely and with yoga breaths, I picture their little souls all ragged just as if I’d sent them in with bits of vinyl folder clinging to them and the lunch money stuck to their shoe. “Escape from the tornado of my poor preparation, small ones, and take whatever supplies land with you.” SAVE YOURSELVES.
INSTEAD, FOR THE love of all that is holy, I’m gonna find my Calm Down. I’m going to drop them off tomorrow with almost everything they need, including the confidence that forgotten things aren’t the end of the world. They’re going to remember that I actually LOVE this time of year because it smells like scotch tape and bouquets of sharpened pencils and – happy sigh – routine. When they leave my car, there will be only one thought clearly visible on my face: I’m going to miss you like CRAZY, and everything’s gonna be fine.