Yes, I know most of my posts this year have been sentimental. It has been a monumental year in our family, and I usually write to both express and cure my emotional state. Based on my last few blogs, you probably think I'm an emotional wreck, a blubbering idiot who has lost his reason to carry on. You'd think I'd be fighting back tears and sniffles as I bemoan the loss of our children's innocence and the absence of a brand new Walmart backpack on our kitchen counter. And that is why, my friends, you may be surprised to hear that this morning I'm writing with great, overflowing joy.
In fact, I'm dancing around the house like a sixth grade boy on the first day of summer vacation. For while Karen is still a teacher and part of the great Frederick County Educational Engine--and we still must succumb to the beaurocratic manacles of the FCPS Calendar (teachers are finished June 19?!) and report card week (a bleary-eyed week of hell for her)--today is a different kind of day. Today, we no longer have to send a kid to school!
And I'm singing a song at the top of my lungs:
Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I'm free at last!
Here are the things I will not miss about having kids in school.
10) EMERGENCY CARDS IN QUADRUPLICATE. This year we will not be awakened at 3:00am by the cramp in our wrist caused by seven hours of paperwork. Did you know the leading cause of international deforestation is the first week of school?
9) PACKING LUNCHES. In fairness, Karen was the one who did this. She enjoyed it for a while, putting endearing notes in the boys' lunches and adding weird items on Fun Friday. But it will be nice to rid our refrigerator of annoying gogurt tubes, apple sauce, and juice boxes. Do they even qualify as food?
8) THE INEVITABLE 8:35 TEXT. Furgurt my gogurt. Plz bring to office. Thx.
7) BUZZING IN AT THE OFFICE.
"I'm here with a brown bag for my son. He forgot it."
"Please state your name and social security number. Have three forms of ID ready. Please remove your shoes and empty all pockets. Place your items in the tray. All laptops must be out of the case. Now, what's in the bag, Sir?"
"It's just a bag of apple sauce and gogurt, not a bomb."
"Bomb? Did someone say bomb! Oh my goodness, he's got a bomb! Everybody Down! BEEEEEP BEEEEEP BEEEEEEP"
6) MATH HOMEWORK. I left all my math capabilities in locker 317 of Indiana Area Senior High School, along with the Cliff Notes for Crime and Punishment. I think Jon was learning fractions in second grade when I realized I was down to 33% of my original brain power. Thankfully, no one needed my help after that.
5) BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT. Even though Karen is a teacher, I never understood any of the Edu-Speak. "This year each student will be given a WONDERWOKKY to assess their progress in KLUTCHKOPPING. Afterwards, you will be able to check their FROHICKYS using the CARPELTUNNEL found on SPACEGROPPLE. You can login using the password found by completing these eight SUDOKUS. Does everyone understand? You Sir, there in the back with the Steeler's hat on, do you have a question?"
"I just wondered if anyone has an extra pencil."
4) SCHOOL SUPPLIES. The ubiquitous three-ring binder (now on sale at Staples 4 for $1) and black and white composition book (now on sale at Ollies 135 for $1) were invented by the same person who invented the rack. Similarly, they produce a slow, painful death stretched over the course of 180 days and bring forth much screaming and gnashing of teeth. I'm pretty sure there are composition books in the underworld that the devil uses to keep track of our FROHICKYS.
3) SCHOOL PICTURES. You would think that--in this day and age of digital wizardry and special effects where you can create a picture of yourself with dog ears and rainbows coming out of your eyebrows at the click of a button--someone, anyone, would create a new creative platform for the school picture. They've been using that same balloon backdrop and stiff pose since Eisenhower was president. How about a few Instagram filters and Snapchat overlays? With a little creativity, we could make middle school a lot less awkward.
2) SCIENCE FAIR PROJECTS. I know some of you get pretty excited for this. It's your chance to show how tech-savvy you are while using your child's name as a cover. Good for you. At our house, it was our primary form of procrastination, as anticipated as an anvil waiting to fall from the door frame on Wile E. Coyote's head. Which begs the question, If an anvil of 100 pounds is placed on a door-frame 12 feet above the floor, and Wile E. Coyote is three-feet tall and walking at a speed of seven mph, at what speed will the tip of the anvil be traveling when it reaches his head...?
1) SPORTS PHYSICALS. No-one likes this process--not the mom who has to make the appointment, not the boy who has to look sideways and cough without laughing, and certainly not the doctor who is, well, compelled by law to tickle the red tape. I wonder what percentage of prospective athletes actually have hernias? Anyway, all I know is that I'm glad my kids don't have to go through this dreaded, private humiliation anymore. Now we can now play tennis without the permission of the athletic director.
Your kids are headed back to school? That's wonderful! I see them on Facebook, with their "why do they always have to take my picture" smiles and Target-driven first-day-of-school outfits. They look great! Enjoy the moment. I know I am, because no tears were shed in the writing of this blog, just some songs being sung.
Schooooool's out. For. Ever!