I love the Staples commercial advertising school supplies. It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year plays as an elated father shops for school supplies with his despondent kids in tow. You can almost feel his euphoria at the thought of his kids returning to school after summer vacation. For most parents, fall is a wonderful time of year because their children will no longer be at home during the day whining about how bored they are, begging to go somewhere or inviting numerous friends over. Unfortunately, I am not one of those parents because my daughter is now a teenager (funny how a word can cause nausea).
My daughter has never enjoyed going to school. She believes that reading is a punishment, a trip to the library is worse than getting immunization shots and homework is something to be avoided like head lice. My summer mornings begin peacefully with a cup of coffee, the Today show and a toasted croissant. I get dressed in peace and quiet as my husband is already left for work and my daughter, who has turned into something resembling a vampire, is in her bed dead to the world. I quietly go into her room, winding my way to her bed, to kiss her on the cheek and tell her goodbye. I hear a mumbled “whatever” before she turns over and dismisses me. My drive to work is pleasant – – a second cup of coffee, morning talk radio and very little traffic because school is out for the summer. I love my summer mornings and dread to see them turn into what I believe is purgatory each fall (I am destined for the best afterlife of any parent I know).
My mornings on school days are very different from my peaceful summer mornings. I get up at least an hour earlier to prepare and pack her school lunch, review homework and start the ritual of waking the undead. My friends ask why I do not review homework the night before but they do not understand when you have a child with slight learning disabilities that hates school it takes all of your energy during the evenings to just get the homework finished much less review it. In addition, waking the undead is a difficult task that requires at least four trips into the room, the last being with the water gun, only to be rewarded by something that resembles a she-devil instead of my precious baby girl. After repeatedly telling her to move (I swear she does not go slow she moves backwards), I finally make it to the car only to be blasted with loud music or completely ignored (I prefer the second) as I fight school traffic to drop her off.
No, I do not look forward to back-to-school time each year. My husband never complains about working the hours that he does – – of course not, he has my “summer” beginning to his mornings all year long.