Tuesday, August 02, 2011

School Days or is it School Daze

By Robin "Red Hot" Kaye

I don’t know about you, but for me, the best day of the year is always the first day of school even though each child comes home with an inch-thick stack of forms to fill out. By the time I finish filling out the forms, I’ve got a major case of writer’s cramp but even that doesn’t diminish my happiness.

After enduring a full summer of kids whining about being bored, fighting about one or another of them hogging the TV, or standing in front of the refrigerator complaining that there’s nothing to eat but ingredients, I’m subjected to my definition of hell. School shopping.

There’s nothing worse than walking through Walmart with three lists of school supplies among one-hundred other frazzled parents, each with their 1.5 children begging for a Dora the Explorer backpack and having temper tantrums when the kids hear the word no. Hell is trying to find two-pocket folders with the metal fasteners in six different colors, and six packs of three different size post it notes while pushing a cart full of $150 of other supplies while not taking your hand off said cart because, lets face it, everyone else’s cart looks exactly the same and you don’t want to start the process over again. I hang onto my cart like my life depends upon it, and the way I feel when I’m finished, it probably does.

At 7:05 in the morning, after giving my youngest a hug and a kiss goodbye, and saying the words I say every school day “Make it a good day, Sweetie. The decision is yours.” I watch her climb the steps of her beautiful yellow school bus and I feel a sense of freedom. I want to do my own version of the Snoopy Happy Dance, but not only is it 7:05 in the morning, I haven’t had time to finish my first cup of coffee, and there’s a line of cars waiting behind the school bus who witness the show and probably call 911 thinking I was having some sort of seizure. So every year I walk sedately back up the slowly deteriorating concrete steps that make the steep hill from my front door to the street somewhat manageable with my coffee in hand. I step through the front door and am greeted by my very happy dog who is free to do the Snoopy Happy Dance, since, like Snoopy, she’s a dog and cares nothing about humans thinking they’re insane or epileptic. She’s just thrilled to be rid of her competition for Mom’s attention. I finish my coffee, clean up what’s left of the disaster of the kitchen, and participate in a ritual I’ve had since the first day my youngest child started first grade and all three kids were going to full-day school.

A very good friend of mine sent me a one-pound box of Sea’s Chocolate and a bottle of wine with instructions to open both, run a nice bubble bath, and indulge. After the bath, most of the chocolate (if you haven’t eaten Sea’s Chocolate you haven’t lived) and about a half-bottle of wine, we had an on-line party, which is a necessity since Kay lives in Seattle and I’m in Maryland. We Skype and celebrate our newfound freedom while ingesting a week’s worth of calories and catching a nice buzz. I’ve done this for seven years. The first day of school, I’ll fill out all those forms under-the-influence of my lovely Shiraz, which makes the writers cramp tolerable.

Next Tuesday is my first day of freedom. So think of me taking a lovely bubble bath, stuffing my face with chocolate, and washing it down with a fabulous Shiraz and then having an on-line party. Let me know if you want to join me, and tell me what you do to celebrate freedom, or what you would do, if you have a day all to yourself with out kids. Curious minds want to know.

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