First Published in the Tri-Town Transcript Sep. 3, 2014
Parents of the Tri-Towns, this time of year weighs me down. It burdens me with high expectations for either maternal inventive fabulousness, or witty ironic rebuttals of the same. It’s ‘back to school’ season and the national obsession leaves no argyle, printed snack pack, no double sided, single colored folder, behind.
The news runs stories on the economic impact of the increasingly complicated school supply lists, while the self-declared experts discuss the pros and cons of purchasing pre-sharpened pencils verses the wild rebellion of sending in (gasp!) unsharpened pencils.
Then there are the moms and their chalk boards, artistically displaying their children’s ages and new grades in dusty wonder, or the humorous videos with the singing family in their ‘jammies’ dancing in school busses.
Over in camp two, are the the wry, self-deprecating, mommy bloggers deconstructing the chalk and pjs and claiming 1970s-era bologna as their throw-back champion.
Back to school has become a parental moment upon which you judge or be judged.
Hear me, dear Regular Readers . . . I don’t care.
Sure, I’ll take some pictures of our girls on their first day, and I’m ever so thankful that they are educated by someone other than me. But you know what I really care about? Milking every final day of summer weather out of this glacial shelf we call home. Remember last winter? Do you recall the unspeakable deep freeze, the weight of all that snow? I can barely breathe to think of it.
Do not, I implore you, waste a nano-second of your life debating whether or not to get them the lunch box with the cute, but possibly BPA laced, owl eyes or the practically edible, but boring, Bento Box. Spare not a moment providing them with carrots cut in the shape of letters that spell love in two languages. Slap a condiment on some bread, throw it out the window by their school, and get thee to the beach, or to a sunny street where you can stroll, or to a coffee shop while you can still drink that (iced!!) beverage outside.
I don ’t care when school starts. It all starts nowish. You know what also starts nowish? Winter. Lest you thought those falling acorns were the harbingers of endless sunbeams and s’mores, I am here to tell you, the acorns spell mittens and darkness at 4:30 p.m. There is no time to debate about whether teachers should request ten million anti-bacterial wipes. Toss out the wipes and go get a pedicure while your toes can still shine!
All roads are spiraling ever faster towards winter. For example, my daughters began discussing new school backpacks – – a topic I felt compelled to join since I had some relevant information.
“The backpacks you’ll get are the ones you already have,” I explained.
“But Mommy,” my eldest implored, “I was hoping to get a backpack with wheels. All of my friends have them, and it will be better for my back.”
I nodded at her logic and replied with my own. ”Backpacks with wheels are ridiculous. Who do you think hucks them into the back of the car anyway? Whose back gets hurt then? And, riddle me this, what surface do you think those wheels will roll on? Sidewalks? Cement? Shiny, happy, glitter paths?”
My daughter shrugged.
“No,” I continued,”those wheels will roll, or more specifically be dragged, though piles of slush, and un-shoveled snow, along with half of the road salt and sand of New England. They will be like barnacle-encrusted ice balls and you will need a chisel simply to reach your homework. Have your friends ever mentioned that little phenomenon?”
My daughter shook her head.
”I thought not. Now,” I smiled, because I am not always a ranting maniac of a mother, “Let’s go get some ice cream!”
Because ice cream is what you can spontaneously eat while it’s still warm, and back to school or not, I’m not wasting a second of what’s left.