There was a time in my life when all I needed to get my kids ready for school was a backpack from Walmart, a cute outfit I picked out, a comb, some hairspray, a hug and a good-bye wave.
Oh, how things have changed – for most of my kids anyway.
I have nine children, and once upon a time, the older kids were small. Today, the oldest is starting his second year in college, and the second oldest will be a college freshman – and on and on it goes from high school, to middle school, all the way down to Pre-K.
I assure you that my current tone around this time of year isn’t nearly as melancholy as it sounds in my head as I write this; I am just really tired.
Because today was not spent stocking up on 50 cent packs of crayons, but was instead spent calling college housing because sometimes (well, in my case), adult children don’t know exactly what they want to do until it’s screaming in their face. And now housing and class schedules and meal plans are a reality that I have to face in addition to … .
Drumroll please …
Getting high schoolers ready for school.
If you’ve done the high school thing, you know that it isn’t nearly as exciting as the previous years because burnout has set in. They’re going mostly because they have to because there is no recess, and there hasn’t been for quite some time. Classes aren’t exciting, but consist of mostly “do I have to” credits. The good thing about high school (and I think it might be important to mention that my high schoolers are boys), all I really need to stock up on is mechanical pencils and granola bars.
Middle school is a whole other beast because looking good is of utmost importance – especially when you’re a girl going into eighth grade. My middle schooler hasn’t made mention of any supplies or classes, but micellar water is a word I hear a lot. If you know, you know, and if you don’t know, its makeup remover – which means that there must be makeup to be removed.
Getting a middle school-aged girl ready for school only includes makeup apparently.
Amidst all the chaos that makes my head not work very well, I can at least settle in the elementary school arena and take a full breath because this is where I get it.
I understand pencil bags and erasers and sharpened pencils. I love the smell of new crayons and a clean backpack that may or may not smell like pencil shavings from last year, because “clean” means all the papers are dumped out. Pencil shavings are rather magnetic, and I don’t mind that.
But I am just delaying the inevitable announcement that I am also returning to school as a full blown educator after 16 years away, and I am making my list of what I will need in order to prepare myself for this experience.
Pencils? Yes. Crayons? Yes. Granola bars? Most definitely yes, but perhaps with a drop of caffeine. Micellar water? No. I’m not that kind of girl, and middle school is not something I ever feel like revisiting even in my scariest of nightmares. Lots of love and patience and even more yoga? Yes, yes yes!!
To all those parents getting your kids of all ages ready for school, I stand with you in solidarity. And for all you teachers revving up for a new year, I wave my flag with you.
The 2023-2024 school year is going to be ….
Drumroll please …
Whatever we make it.
And don’t forget to sniff the pencil shavings. They smell good.