The Price For Back To School Freedom

It’s almost that magical time, grown-ups. School is in session for our kids. The dog days of summer are over. Woof.

This is the easy part of the calendar year. Why? Because those precious mid-day hours are back. Appointments can be made and errands can be run. All those days surrounded by children have come to an end. Now the children will surround us at night and on weekends. The other time, they’re in a big building off-site. Export!

Ah yes. The easy part. It’s coming. Can you feel it?

Oh wait. I need to get bread. Damn. I forgot about the lunches. I hated making school lunches. I’d forget what food items I need and end up with some imaginative sandwich made of chicken nuggets and shredded cheese that my daughter tells me she hates and my son’s aide sends home untouched. There were empty sleeves of Oreos when I needed them the most and half torn slices of cheese that I should have just eaten all of. It’s orange lettuce that I just bought and unfrozen ice packs. That’s school lunch.

One thing on my list aren’t a lot. Small shopping price to pay for freedom. I just need to get bread and the life skills supplies my son needs for his class. Oh wait. I didn’t fill out that form. It’s been a whole summer and the teacher needs updates. He doesn’t speak so his updates have to come from me on a signed form. But she emailed it. How does one sign an email? Oh. I didn’t even think about it. I have to print it out on my temperamental printer.

Do I have ink? I definitely don’t have ink.

Oh, man. OK. So I need bread, life skills stuff, and ink. I’m going to need it. There’s a lot of forms during the year. I forgot about that. If your kid sneezes, you have to sign for it. There’s that health questionnaire they added too. Are we still doing that? Every morning? I hated that thing. I’ve barely filled out anything in the last two months. The first time I try to write something with a pen, it’s going to look like modern art.

I should just run out now and get them. I can…oh wait. These kids need laundry. I should probably do the laundry before I go. I’ll throw it in and let it run while I’m gone. The outfits might be new, but the socks are the same. I’ll throw a load in.

And…I have no detergent. Add detergent to the list. OK. More to buy before the easy part of the year starts. But still, it’s back to school, right? This is the easy part. It’s coming up. Whoo-hoo. Tomorrow, I drop them off at school.


We all get up at like 6AM. Ugh. I forgot about that. I hobble around and put off coffee for almost an hour while I get my son ready and make breakfast for both my children. My daughter rushes around slamming doors behind her and the whole house instantly becomes a cluttered mess. There are missing sneakers, unfilled water bottles, and backpacks that are “too heavy to carry myself.” It’s a mad dash of insanity.

This continues every single day until June – basically the entire duration of “the easy part”.

Drop-off itself is a load of fun. For my daughter, it requires a bizarre lining-up routine with all the other cars. There is an unspoken rule about when you start and the speed you go. People, just as exhausted as I am inch forward, sticking the front of their cars diagonal in front of mine. These are fellow parents to kids my kid probably knows. I can’t freak out although I want to. Fighting other drivers in front of the school is generally frowned upon.

For my son, we get out and walk up to the entrance. Lucas battles to go in before the bell while I pull on his sleeve. Parents, some of which I never met, talk to me. I am tired, confused, and usually deep in thought the dream I had less than two hours ago. Why was my high school Shop teacher leading a parade? I nod. I hug my kid. I wait patiently. This time period lasts between one minute and ten hours. It feels like somewhere in the middle. This too happens every single day.

Sometimes the school nurse calls to tell me that my son “isn’t being himself”. I ask what that means and pretend like I am going to ponder getting him, but I always just end up getting him. He usually comes home with more energy than he ever had before. Ironically, on those days, it makes pick-up easier than it normally is. Again, this is all the easy part of the year that I have been pining for.

There are PTA events and CSE meetings, Back to School and charity spaghetti dinners, parent-teacher conferences and class parties with gingerbread houses. The whole game is about to change. You get to send your kid to class each day, but nothing is free in this world. The Board of Education wants its pound of flesh.

But hey, at least we get those few hours. Is it worth the trade-off of going through all of that to get your days back? Honestly, some days it is. So enjoy your Starbucks, go spray on a tan, and get your hair did. School is back in session. Free time is coming…but you’re definitely going to earn it.




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