Tuesday, September 3, 2013

You Don't Have To Go To School, But You Can't Stay Here

"The Most Wonderful Time of the Year", Staples commercial
It's happening--my kids are going back to school!  I have been looking forward to this for the past several weeks, posting funny pictures on Facebook and sharing the fabulous Staples commercial.  I'm worried, however, that some of my friends and family might misunderstand my joy at losing my kids to the system (the school system, that is--my children are not being taken by CPS, though I have threatened it a time or two over the summer).  It's not that I don't love my kids or enjoy spending time with them, but honestly, eleven weeks is a bit much family together time for even the most sane parents.  And most days my sanity is sketchy at best.

Consider it this way:  it's summer and your three best friends are coming for an extended visit--let's say eleven weeks.  You're super excited!  These are your three favorite people in the whole world--they're like family! ;)  You clean the guest rooms and stock the fridge, thinking of all the fun you'll have.

The first week or so of their visit is great.  You laugh, you eat, you remember what great people these are. But then you realize that while they are on vacation, with no worries or responsibilities, you still have stuff to do:  cooking, cleaning, walking the dog, paying the bills, etc and so forth, ad nauseum.  Maybe you couldn't get time off work, so while your house guests stay up late and sleep in every morning, you must drag your tired self to work.  Or perhaps you work from home, trying to fill out confusing government documents and taking important customer calls in the dining room while your friends play Xbox in the living room or chase the dog through the house.  Or insist on giving you a detailed  plot outline of every Harry Potter book they've ever read when you have shit to do.

Sigh.  Suddenly having care-free friends in your house all summer is starting to wear on you.

Sure there are the good times, a weekend camp out or a trip to Pike Place Market's gum wall, but these are sandwiched by endless days of "The cable's out!", "When's dinner?" and "How do you get permanent marker off the dog?"

Your house guests, of course, are having a great time.  They eat whatever they want (Fruit Loops for lunch, anyone?), sleep till noon and shower only if they smell worse than the dog.  Occasionally they invite other friends over (who must also be fed) or ask that you take them to other people's houses (and then come get them up at the drop of a hat).  They don't worry about picking up or pitching in--they're on vacation, after all  You witness their leisurely, sun-soaked days while you're going about the business of real life and you start to feel that maybe it's time your friends went home.  Or anywhere else, really.

You don't have to go back to school, but you can't stay here.

Luckily, the government says all children must attend school and so today I thank the educational system, the teachers and the United States government for evicting my summer guests from their beds and getting them out of my hair for six hours straight. 

As I finish this post, my children are all in school and my house is blissfully quiet.  I think I even had a complete thought.

The most beautiful sight you'll see:  school bus picking kids up in our neighborhood today.