My kids have to go back to school this week, and no matter what I say about it publicly, like mothers everywhere, I am celebrating. Celebrating because I have lived through another cruel season of torture known as the last two weeks of summer. The season when my kids get bored and whiny and pick at each other constantly and leave some kind of sticky film on every surface whether it is vertical or horizontal.
I could be waxing sentimental about the bittersweet nature of sending my kids back out into the world and the pang I get seeing them walk down the road to the bus, when in reality I am thinking, “ Jesus, so glad I didn’t kill the little monsters.” Ok, it’s not nice to call your offspring monsters. It is too harsh for any grandmother’s eyes, but for another mom or dad who has had- it- up- to- here, “little monsters” is the nicest term I could think of.
The other thing I am thinking is, “ you’d damn well better run and catch that bus because I am soooo not driving you to school just because you needed to straighten your hair and your annoying sister was in the bathroom and your little brother is creepy and I didn’t wake you up on time and where are my shoes and I just don’t understand anything!”
What I do understand all too well is the particular insanity of having children you love more than your life, but that you want to throttle daily. I understand what it is like to live in a house of people for whom you are a life support system, a nudge, a failed disciplinarian and a constant embarrassment. I understand what it is like not to be able to accomplish the simplest of tasks because someone was making a sandwich but dropped the strawberry jam and the jar shattered and now the dog is eating it, or someone “copied me”, or someone needs a ride somewhere and why can’t we go right now and you are so unfair!!! God knows why I even try to string two sentences together; as for sorting through the 1200 images I took in Tanzania? It’s as hopeless as matching up the single socks left in the bottom of the laundry basket.
The school bus waits at the end of the road, a yellow beacon of sanity, letting me know that at last I might be able to cross off one or two things from the list of goals that I threw in the garbage mid July. The sound of the air brakes gives me chills as consider the possibility that I might be able to read and absorb the written word again, I might find my creative juices flowing again, I might even have the energy to exercise if only those kids of mine would just run down the road and squeeze those backpack laden butts onto the bus already so that from 7:54am until 3:16 pm the day is mine to seize or squander as I see fit.
“Oh crap! Wait! Wait! Come back….wait!!!!!”
“What mom? We have to go!”
“You forgot to kiss me goodbye! I love you. Wait, do you have your lunch?”
“Yes mom, we have to go, the bus is here!”
“Do you have your soccer cleats? Wait, give me a hug, and please stop shoving your sister!”
“She shoved me first! Ouch! You always blame me! You are so unfair!”
“For God’s sake, just knock it off will you, please? And hey, have a great day at school, hurry up and don’t miss the bus!”
“ Yeah mom, we know mom…we have to go…. goodbye mom!”
..I love you…….”