Back to school time starts in our house when I scrawl Edgar W. Howe’s immortal wisdom on my chalkboard: "If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers."
This act is not enough to get my kids to put on the charm and pick up their Pop Tart wrappers. Instead they see the quote and start Googling “How to Commit Your Mother To An Insane Asylum” on their iPads.
I hope they find me a nice place. Shoot, I hope they are well educated enough to realize that an asylum is someplace Mommy can go and not an operation Mommy needs to have—no matter how she looks in a bathing suit.
That’s why we start the back to school process as early as possible around here. The more things we have in our back to school process means that we have more opportunities to have a little shot of hope run through every day. Like Bacardi.
The school teacherly advice about going back to school usually features suggestions like how to get kids a good breakfast, where to find the best back to school deals , and how to established good homework habits.
I don’t care about any of that (witness the Pop Tarts.) Our back to school process is marked more by frantically hunting down that paper that said which books were part of summer reading.
It is marked by a weekly explanation to the boss about why we are so far behind at work even though we published all those helpful work at home tips.
Back to school means noticing that everyone’s shoes look like they were borrowed by Forrest Gump for a cross country run.
Back to school means haircuts. Sorting closets for clothes that fit. Wondering why those clever little detergent pods keep the laundry room clean but do not actually remove stains from any of these clothes.
Back to school is lusting after fresh school supplies when there are 42 dirty pink erasers in your drawer right now and that we own enough backpacks to put the entire cast of The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies on the bus.
Back to school means the last visit to the grandparents. The last trip to the beach. The last walk down the block to get ice cream.
Back to school means turning around and looking up into your 12-year-old’s face because he is taller than you are. Because his feet are bigger than yours. Because elementary school is over forever.
Back to school means concentrating on these crazy kids and how messy they are and how many video games they play and how you can’t get anything done, dammit. That way you never know that no matter how ready you are for school to start, you are never ready for summer to end again.