The End Of Summer And Resurrection Of A SAHM
By Elizabeth Thompson
"It's quiet -- too quiet!"
I'm reminded of that phrase most often heard in western movies, television and suspense novels – not to mention expressed with trepidation by perhaps every parent of a three-year-old wondering, “What’s going on?” – you know, right before the hero/heroine gets blasted by the protagonist(s).
My head hurts, my eyes are burning and I find myself feeling like a drippy, used tissue... pretty much the same way I felt when dropping off each of my children on their first full-day of school.
My five-year-old daughter -- and youngest of my three girls and boy -- is starting kindergarten this September.
Except, this time, I’ll pop an allergy pill and try to control myself while attempting to quietly execute my own little private “happy dance” – keeping the writhing and butt-wiggling in the driver’s seat, to a minimum – as I peel out of the elementary school parking lot, singing “I Will Survive” and gesture in an animated fashion, in an attempt to resurrect any memories of what my days used to be like.
What I used to be like, before children.
Having cared for a child at home for the last thirteen years, I have a hard time understanding how people (like my husband) can still think I’m, “Totally whacked,” whenever I worry/overreact (depending on who's telling the story -- me or them) over one, two, three or all four of my children -- sometimes, all at once.
In this case, however, I don’t seem to be reacting enough... or, as much as they think I should... or... D’OH!... what’s the right answer?
I’ve gone to orientations (a total of eleven, I think) before, and Mini-Me’s introduction to kindergarten during the early part of the summer wasn’t any different – very nice, very comforting, very reassuring as orientations go – except, perhaps her crying, “I don’t wanna go home,” because, “I thought today was the first day of school!?!”
Okay, who changed the rules?
Excited is one thing -- and I know it’s normal for kids to be anxious about starting school -- but, not wanting to leave... before it even starts... makes a parent feel all warm inside, doesn’t it?
My other kids?
Well, I remember having to reassure them about the first day of school (especially my son) the same way most parents do...
...and perhaps worrying about a few of the same things, as well:
Not this time!
I will survive!
We were unpacking the back of the car from a recent back-to-school shopping trip, and I saw our next-door neighbor doing some yard work next to our driveway. There were a lot of bags (thank goodness for end-of-season sales and 70% off), so I suggested Mini-Me run over and tell her the exciting news -- Alleluia, pass the coffee and today’s newspaper -- the last of the Thompson rugrats is starting school!
Is that what she thinks?
That years of fielding baby puke, juggling doctor appointments, filling hundreds of prescriptions, fitting shoes, going through long hours of potty-training, socializing, shushing in libraries, leaving movie theaters, avoiding grocery stores until after bedtime, running up and down toy aisles on rainy days, playing with tons of play dough and watching perhaps every Disney movie ever made (more than once) while cooking, cleaning and baking enough cupcakes to fill my entire kitchen (twice) not to mention the half-a-million other little things, have finally taken their toll?
Yep, I’m done -- but, perhaps not in the way that you may think.
Yes, the summer is over – the days are ending quicker and the nights are getting chilly – and in just a few short days after Labor Day, my children will be learning to settle into their new routines at school with newly-covered books and I close the book on yet another chapter of my life... the longest one yet.
I am -- along with the parents of enough kindergartners to fill five class rooms -- sending the last of my babies... back to school.
At least, this time, I know what to expect.
A lot of excitement, a little bit of sadness, a bit more running around and a whole new set of challenges raising school-aged children and... TEENS... no doubt!
My life as a SAHM is done, but – don’t even get me started on how I’m dealing with getting back into the workforce – my job is far from over. I don’t know where these next few months will take me. Or, even which acronym I should be using, for that matter. For now, I’m just happy to be a “plain old mom” and hope I can get past the first day of school... with my emotions in check and dignity intact.
Then again, it’s the least that anyone of us can expect from someone... who’s totally whacked!
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