Back-to-School Ain’t What It Used To Be

I used to long for back-to-school like a cop longs for a donut, like a pig yearns for slop, like our dog clamors for turds in the kitty litter.

Back in the day, this mom couldn’t WAIT for school to start. (That’s what all those bad analogies were trying to say.)


Back then, I even incorporated busses into my baking.

In the elementary-school days, I couldn’t see the down-side to getting the kids out of my airspace for a nice long stretch every day.

Nobody had to wake up too early. The homework was light (except for that weird new math which takes way longer than it should…CARRY THE ONE, people!). And since we are lame and unsporty, our evenings were generally devoid of fields to be practiced upon.

The kids were mostly happy, while I was freed up to make some major accomplishments in my personal life–like watching all five seasons of Breaking Bad.

But everything’s changed. Somewhere along the way, the axis shifted, leaving me not even the slightest bit tingly at the words “pumpkin spice.”

This was the year I became (dare I say it?) A SUMMER PERSON.

I blame middle school.

Dealing with two strung-out middle schoolers and their homework travails, their overflowing 30-pound backpacks, and their equally heavy spirits caused me to put aside my hatred of swimsuits and yearn like mad for simpler days.

I’d grown so weary of haranguing people about reading logs…of finding out at the last minute that this science project is crazy hard and nowhere near done…of having to sit another night with a tearful child who’s sick inside from a swirling stew of anxieties that summer had begun to sound like heaven itself.

And summer actually was pretty darn good this time.


For once, I hated to see it go. And the night before school started, I remembered exactly why.

It all come flooding back to me through my ear holes.

Lucy had dug out her dreaded summer math packet in a last-ditch effort to get something done on it. And that’s when I could hear from the kitchen the tone of everyone’s voices. The frustrated dad. The uncooperative child. The tension. The volume. The gaskets collectively about to blow sky high.

And I remembered why I wasn’t exactly bounding with glee to the bus stop this year. That sound brought it all back.

School is harder now. It just is.

But life’s not Easy Street for any of us. It’s just not.

This school hill we’re climbing will only get steeper and more exhausting the higher we go, and nobody much likes the huffing and puffing that comes with that.

But the steady hike (the one with no short-cuts and no elevators) really is the only way up. Retreat to kindergarten isn’t an option.

So as much as we moms tend to want nothing but ease, comfort, and total happiness for our kids, it’s time to get some new wants. 

I want my kids to be strong.

I want them to be smart.

I want them to grow into grown-ups worth a hill of beans.

(I also very much want to watch Netflix again. I mean, have y’all started up on that Stranger Things? Lawseeeee.)

Sure, I’ve grown to better appreciate the lazy view from summer’s beach chair. But I’m praying that I’ll love the view from the top of this climb just as much…even if getting there is definitely not half the fun.



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