First Day 2021

The first day of school has come and gone and I have not yet gotten weepy. On the first day I was mostly cranky, the second happy, and the third also happy. As you can imagine, I am confused by and wary of all this happiness.

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The first-day crankiness came from the sudden change in my interactions with the boys. Instead of nudging them into picking blackberries with me or making another batch of cookies then giving up and watching Teen Titans Go with them instead, our time is now intensified into 2 crazy hours of trying to instill urgency into them in the morning, followed by the after-school craziness of soccer practices, dinner, homework, and nagging them about all three of those.

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The very day Leo was born, probably while the placenta was being born, I held him close and did the math: there would be a period of time in which my children go to three different schools. The nurse saw my face blanch and asked if I would like another cup of apple juice. Will it help? I asked. It’s juice, honey. Juice always helps.

Well, friends, the day has come. Three boys, three different schools. Three wake-ups and three send-offs, some of which involve complicated carpools and all of which involve kids accidentally taking each other’s lunches, not finding socks, remembering the 14 forms I was supposed to sign the night before, getting distracted by whatever book is laying on the ground, deciding they’re going to be a professional soccer player and wanting to run to school as part of their training, and showing up to the bus stop either 30 minutes early or 1 minute late. This has all happened, and school has only been in session for three days.

So I was cranky that first day.

At a grocery store I told the cashier it was my kids’ first day of school and she said, “It must be nice to have all that time to yourself.” The thing, I don’t feel I have more time for myself—I have the same amount of time, only now with restrictions, and also a lot picking up. Papers, lunchboxes, kids, backpacks. They all need picking up.

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But since the first day, I have embraced the schedule. I’m still doing the same things I was in the summer (slash last year-and-a-half)—working out, rollerblading, blogging, writing, running, walking, gardening, cooking, scrapbooking, reading, blogging (!!), playing pinball—but now I’m doing more of it. Plus, I don’t feel guilty about ignoring the kids while I am doing all of it.*

It’s rather blissful.

Like I said, though, I am wary of the happiness. I have been lulled into complacency by the first week of school before, then the second week comes up and is all, SMACK! BLAM! Sucker! And I start crying.

But so far, I feel steady and calm. I have reasonable expectations of myself. I’m writing some, playing lots, and celebrating the successes in each day. I’m drinking my apple juice.

And I really feel like this year the back-to-school blues might not come.

Right?

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WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Thai carrot and sweet potato soup
Gnocchi
Edamame
Chocolate pudding cake

*For the record, I always invite them to join me, but the only one they say yes to is pinball, and usually I’m playing it so they can’t right now.

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