a real mother

Back To School

(to the tune of New York, New York – with my sincere apologies to Frank Sinatra)

Start spreadin’ the news

Today is the day

I want to get there early

It’s back to school!

Spent thousands on camp

They still said they’re bored

I want to get there early

It’s back to school!

They’ve fought for three months

We’ve screamed like white trash

I want to get there early

It’s back to school!

I want to wake them

Before the sun hits the sky

And shove them onto the bus

Into the car

Out of the door

Out of my hair

My stay home mom blues

Are endin’ today

I want to get there early

It’s back to school!

If I can take them there

I can go anywhere

Oh happy day

It’s back to school! Back to school!

Now I know that Christmas gets top billing as the most wonderful time – there’s even a song about it.  But whoever penned that ditty was obviously not a stay-at-home mother.  On the Mom Calendar, the most magnificent time of year and cause for joyous celebration is, of course, the First Day of School.

Mere seconds after picking The Boys up on the last day of school things were already going to pot.  Before I could even pull away from the curb, the fighting began.  “MAKE HIM STOP!” Younger Boy screamed at a windshield shattering volume.  “HE STARTED IT!” Older Boy shrieked back, blistering my eardrums.  The moment we walked in the house, precisely 27 minutes into summer vacation, I was Googling year-round Swiss boarding schools.

By the end of June, the 24/7 togetherness was getting to me and I was ready to pull my hair out.  “What can I do, I’m soooo bored,” Older Boy complained in a tone that sounded like a Valley Girl.  “There’s nothing cool to do,” they whined in unison.  “Go outside and play,” I suggested helpfully.  My mother’s eyes would roll back in her head as she chanted this phrase like a mantra every day of summer vacation.  Of course, I now understand this is Motherspeak for Go Away, You’re Driving Me Crazy.

By July, they managed to negotiate a truce sensing they were stuck with each other for the duration.  Although the peace was undoubtedly pleasant, the constant mess in every corner of the house and even the yard was maddening.  Lego projects took over the kitchen table.  The baking soda and vinegar volcano began to fossilize on the counter.  A makeshift battleground complete with aircraft carriers and helicopters guarded the living room.  Tents were erected in the backyard.  My house had transformed into a real-life version of Bil Keane’s Family Circus.  And just like the cartoon, I had a trail of footprints leading everywhere The Boys had been.

But the hot, dry days at the end of the month caused a renegotiation of the truce and the fighting resumed with a furor.  The battles were starting to take their toll on my mental health when a magical insert appeared in the Sunday newspaper – my beacon of hope – the first ad for a Back to School sale.  The cavalry had arrived and visions of pencils and crayons and backpacks danced in my head.  It wouldn’t be long now.  I clutched the ad to my chest until it was tattered from sweat, and quite possibly tears.

Optimism had returned, thanks to Kmart.

As the dog days of August seemed to grow longer, my patience grew shorter.  After repeatedly banishing them to their rooms for their increasingly ridiculous skirmishes, you would think they’d figure it out by simple Tarzan process of elimination – FIGHTING BAD.  Time seemed to literally stand still and I felt like Tom Hanks in Cast Away making hash marks of my remaining days marooned on Stay-At-Home-Isle.  And just like Tom, I could often be found in my backyard hopelessly scanning the horizon, sweaty with a towel on my head, with HELP! scrawled in the dirt behind me.

But I focused my attention on that critical Wednesday circled in bright red, the First Day of School.   “Time to go shopping for back to school,” I announced trying to hide my unbridled glee.   “Can’t we wait another week?” Older Boy said.  “I’m not ready yet.”

Oh, but Mom is ready.  And she’s counting the days.

2 thoughts on “Back To School”

  1. I just read/sang this to my daughter and we r still laughing…that’s EXACTLY how it is…..and I had 5….. the only thing you forgot is the screaming of your PURSE starving from lack of shiny coins or paper notes…because you spent it all entertaining or taking them out to get them out of house and preoccupied.

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