At precisely 6:40 a.m., today …

… a big yellow chariot pulled up in front of our house, scooped up my eldest princess and carried her away to a faraway land of lockers, study halls, labs, mascara, lip liner, high heels and hotties in lacrosse and football jerseys.

A little over an hour later, a second big yellow chariot came along and whisked my youngest princess away to a different faraway land filled with desks, cubbies, pencil boxes, chapstick, flip flops, recess and disgusting cootie-filled *gag* boys.

Immediately thereafter, the skies opened up and big, fluffy, white unicorns dropped from the Heavens, floated amongst the clouds and farted lemon scented, cotton candy rainbows fringed with gold and spiked with kahlua and amaretto all around me.

For today is one of the holiest of all days in this household … the first day of school.

*cue chorus of angels*

That rush of air you just felt whipping by you was the breath I have been holding in since June.

It was a long, hot summer. And not the good kind, like, with Paul Newman or anything.

Later today, I will ponder, contemplate and reflect. And with more than a tinge of regret I will wish, as I always do every single year at summer’s end, that I had been a better mom for the past two and a half months. A more patient, fun loving, less frazzled one. One with a better handle on things, the tough, sturdy kind of handle that she didn’t fly off of every hour on the hour. The kind of mom who didn’t care about soggy, moldy towels outside on the deck or inside on the bathroom floor. One who could fill a glass half full every single day by referring to the incessant, deafening roar of the smackdown between her kids as “miscommunication.” The kind that didn’t threaten to disembowel the next person who rolled their eyes or asked to be driven somewhere.

But for now, at least for the next couple of minutes or so, I’m going to take in the silence and bask in the quiet and just enjoy the fact that for the first time in a long time, someone is not telling her sister to SHUT IT, YOU LITTLE FREAK and someone else is not telling her sister to BACK OFF, YOU BIG LOSER MORON and neither of them is yelling MOOOOOOOOOOOOM! SHE STARTED IT! YOU ALWAYS TAKE HER SIDE! I HATE THIS HOUSE to their mother.

Once upon a time, I used to cry on the first day of school.

Now I cry on the last.

Circa 2005

(From kindergarten 2005) —- Your backpack is almost as big as you and you’re about to burst with excitement. You had to be cajoled into letting us wait for the bus with you and you’re questioning its arrival every minute or so. You are going to kindergarten. Happiness, pride, sadness and fear are all calling dibs on my emotions right now. I know you’re going to make a lot of friends. That’s a done deal with your personality. And I know you’re going to soak in knowledge like a thirsty sponge. I know you’re going to love your teacher and your classroom and your table and your crayons and your snack. I know that you will probably be reading by Christmas. I know I’m in for a mess of gray hair from last minute demands for homemade projects and costumes. These things I know. Definitely, you’re ready. Possibly, I’m not. I sent your sister on this path six years ago and I’m still recovering from that. I blinked and now you’re off too? Was I not paying attention? Yes, my head is telling me that today is the first in a slew of fantastic days for you and me. But hold on … my heart just needs a minute to catch up.

I miss those once upon a time days.

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24 thoughts on “At precisely 6:40 a.m., today …”

  1. I can but dream of your wondrous revelry of aloneness on this wonderful day. For you see, I am a homeschooling mother of two girls. Yes, I am slowly losing my sanity and live vicariously thru people like you.

  2. I can hear that choir singing!

    No big yellow buses here – just Mum’s Taxi or walking, but the result is the same – silence, temporarily!

    They come home at 2, 3 and 3.30 pm (assuming no after-school stuff) – when do yours return from Never Never land?

  3. I always spend some time wishing I had been that mom too, with summers full of crafts and outings and everyone happy. But I’m starting to think that mom is bogus. Possibly an exaggeration by some moms who did a couple craft store project in a box things and went to the park one day and no one pushed anyone else off a swing, that they then parlayed into this mythical Happy Summer Mom Superwoman the rest of us now are expected to live up to.

  4. Thank you for this post. I also subscribe to Kelle Hampton’s blog and as much as I love to read hers, it makes me feel like a terrible mother in comparison. It is so reassuring to hear someone that thinks the same as I do.

  5. Oh my gosh I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO not the mom you’re talking about/wishing to be, but I loooooooooooooooooooooooove those lazy days of summer when I don’t have to hassle anyone about homework or worry that they’re not up by six am, or nag them about any number of things. Of course, it might have something to do with being a teacher… :-0

  6. I love the first day of school photo! I am kind of liking that they are in school during the day, but now the grandchildren are starting to hang out so no break!!!

  7. hotties in lacrosse and football jerseys. <— Since when did Anderson Cooper go back to high school? I think I need to brush up on my Chemistry if that's the case.

  8. That is hilarious…I think all mom’s must feel that way they just don’t to terrible things to their kids in spite of feeling that way…I can tell you’re a great mom and a very fun writer.

  9. This was the first year I realized exactly how my mom felt when she’d tell us, “I can’t wait for school to start!” My eldest is in first grade. Oy!

  10. really, i went OMG FREEDOM FOR EIGHT HOURS!! xD but i do kinda miss having to tell my son to stop banging on walls, or to stop playing in the bathroom (cause he likes to flush entire rolls of toilet paper in one go).

  11. I dream of the day the big yellow chariots come and take all of my kiddos to school, for now I guess I’ll just have to imagine what that kind of freedom is like…sigh!

  12. I absolutely love you lol. I homeschooled until last year so I never understood this whole concept really…but this past summer showed me just what it was like. I guess I too will be fighting this “I can’t wait for summer”/”When does school start back” battle from now on!! Sounds like our houses are pretty similar in some respects!

  13. Oh yes I remember those days when I was heartbroken that they had to go to school. I did not want them to be without me that long. But that was way before I had a teen, a pre teen, a bored 8 year old and a little boy who likes to talk about nothing but dinosaurs. All.Day.Long. This year I was so excited to have the house to myself again. It was the most wonderful sound in the world. Nothing 🙂

  14. I give myself crap at least once a month for not enjoying every moment and spending a lot of them frustrated. It is part of the job. You enjoy those few moments. Well deserved and in just a few more months you can have them home every single day for Christmas break.

  15. I don’t think you’re alone in this! Haha!

    My niece and nephew were getting terribly bored by the end of the summer and starting to go at it like alley cats. The school bus was welcomed with open arms.

    Cheers! 🙂

  16. Pish Andy – life’s too short for regret. The kids will remember all the cool things of summer – including how FUNNY the moldy towels on the deck are and how FREAKED OUT Mom got because of it.

    Kids are devious like that…

    I’d watch the dismemberment thing though – you think moldy towels are a mess…

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