Back to School

OK. I want to get this out in the open.

I Am Strange.

I am a strange person. I am a strange daughter. I am a strange wife. And more than anything else, I am a strange mom.

And guess what? I’m OK with it. My family is OK with it. But I guess they don’t know any better so that might not be saying much.

What, you might ask, has prompted me to proclaim my strangeness to the world? Oddly enough, the start of a new school year. I’m seeing these sentimental Facebook posts from my mom friends who are all sad about their kids going back to school.

“I can’t believe my precious baby is going to Kindergarten this year.”

“It’s the last first day of school for my oldest. Where did the time go!!”

And here I am over here having a party. The summer is over! My kids are going back to school! Woohoo!!!!!

Please don’t misunderstand me. I love my children. I want to spend time with them. I want to watch them discover the world and use their imaginations to create fabulous things. But by the end of the summer, I’m done.

The last 40 years have seen HUGE changes in how summer break works. (Yes, I’m getting old.) I grew up as what was called a “latch key” kid. This meant that I had a key to my house by the age of 10 and I was often home alone. I came and went throughout the day and simply called my mom at work to tell her where I was going. I rode my bike through the neighborhood, without a helmet, with my friends, for hours. You knew where everyone was because that was the yard with all the bikes laying on the ground. And a great day was when your friend’s mom was home and agreed to take everyone to the community pool that was 10 miles away.

That’s not how it works today. For better or worse, summer is shorter. That’s good because I have to work and summer camps are expensive. We don’t have any neighbors with young kids, and we live on a Even if he wasn’t on the autism spectrum, busy street, so there’s no running freely with friends all day. Not that I could let him do that anyway. unsupervised children are a no-no in modern society.

By the end of the summer I am routinely hearing the statement, “I’m Bored.” How can you be bored? You’ve been at camp all day. And now that you’re home you have all your toys and your electronics and your backyard and your dog. What more could you possibly want!?!?

So, yes, I am the mom standing at the bus stop on the first day of school with a huge smile on her face. If I could give the bus driver balloons and a cake I would gladly do it. And I am extremely thankful for these wonderful teachers who are going to educate my child for 7 hours every day. I will buy them whatever they want. I will sharpen the pencils. I will go to 3 Walmart’s searching for a yellow binder. I will provide hand sanitizer and Kleenex and cleaning wipes. Because my kids are in school and not at home being bored.

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