It is upon us. Like other sacred holidays it travels across the calendar, difficult to predict. It might be chosen based on a moon cycle. I like to believe there’s a secret room of administrators possibly in a cave. An elderly gent is standing at the head of a long table. He speaks and the room instantly becomes silent so that all may hear him. “I saw a disheveled mother in a McDonald’s drink seven cups of coffee while crying. It is time.” …….and that’s how they decide when the first day of school is. There are those that claim that my scenario is preposterous and the first day of school is a predetermined date. I say “shut up Sharon” because I happen to know that every single year my kids tell me “school starts tomorrow” and I’m blindsided by the suddenness of it all, making my assumptions about a gathering on a mountain top by the village wise-folk entirely plausible. This group of legendary administrators watch and wait and just when the moment comes when we can not take even one more day. They provide a reprieve. It is exactly why humans don’t eat their young Sharon.
Here’s what I know about today. Everyone will be on time. It is the only day of the year and the only event of meaning that everyone in my family will come together to defy their natural proclivity to thrive only at dusk and they will rise before the alarm pierces our ear drums. Myself included. I will rise before the sun like some majestic being. I will cook a bountiful meal. I will curl hair. I will coordinate ensembles. I will smile and take photos. I will hand out lunch money. I will greet teachers and sign papers. We will prove definitively that we can do the things required to live peaceably in a civilized society. Today we will set the bar high and establish an expectation of reasonable performance. We will know exactly where our shoes and keys are. Phones will be charged. Teeth will be brushed. The commotion will be great but so will the accomplishment. WE WILL BE ON TIME. Then we will NEVER do it again. Not this year at least. It’s a funny little family tradition we have.
Another tradition already in full swing is my epic to do list. Kids are gone. I can do anything. I can do everything. I am going to get so much done. I start things off with the obligatory social media post and I express how much I’m genuinely going to pretend to miss having all of them here at once. (side note: To be crystal clear I love all of my children individually but if they are gathered together, that is a riot. An angry mob style riot. We don’t flip a car or burn down a small business or anything. That would take a level of teamwork we can only aspire to. There is chanting. I think. I’m not really sure it’s just noise, so so so much noise. They have demands and if those demands are not met there will be strong words of criticism and other such things. Point being one on one the kids are great, all at once and I hide in my closet and wait for reinforcements.) Back to the topic of my To Do list. I want to accomplish so much today. Today is the day to accomplish things. I already kicked A on the morning shuffle I’ve just got to use that momentum to kick a little more A. I’m going to get organized and clean up and have some me time. When the children return I will be calm, sweet, serene, and showered. I will be wearing my finest garb and not an under eye bag or frown wrinkle will be seen. As if all of the wear and tear has been reversed. I will be finishing up some light reading on one of my many interests while relaxing in my pristine abode. I’m going to be swole too because I am definitely going to work out a bunch. This place is going to be running like a finely tuned machine proving that they are the problem. They are the mess. They are the ones making every thing sticky because when they are removed, order is restored.
I will make this list with every intention of doing all of these things. It will be a fine list with many details. It will have sub lists and color coding. I have nothing if not for my aspirations. How do you move a mountain? One bite of an elephant at a time. Or a wide enough river. Probably a system of pulleys and levers. I really love anything with a lever. Like slot machines. Those are great. That’s what I should really do while they are gone. I should open up a casino. I guarantee every mom on the block is feeling luck today. That would be too noisy. Also, I don’t like people. Just levers. That reminds me. There is absolutely no reason to be wearing pants right now.
My children will find me on the couch watching cartoons and eating cereal out of the bag. I will blame all of the crumbs on the baby and I will feel no shame. Its tradition. I made the list, I can do the things tomorrow.