I can't believe that autumn is upon us!
After awaiting the entire lazy summer to get my edits for my upcoming memoir, WINGING IT: A MEMOIR OF CARING FOR A VENGEFUL PARROT WHO'S DETERMINED TO KILL ME (Simon Spotlight Entertainment/March 2010), (think Jen Lancaster meets Marley and Me with a deadly beak), my lovely editor sent them to me. With precisely one week in which to turn them in. Just as my languid, sleep-in-and-worry-about-responsibilities-later summer kicked into full-on school-year frenzy.
And so the week during which I should have been focusing exclusively on my revisions, I instead dealt with the following "It's School Again!" schedule (including a few additional challenges): help to pack/drive son back to college (a full day+); drive 15-y/o daughter to haircut, doctor, dentist & physical therapy (soccer injury) appointments, two soccer practices and a scrimmage; attend senior picture shoot for 17-y/o daughter (at her behest); devote much time to soothing same teary-eyed child, whose boyfriend departed for college, far, far away; wrangle major last-minute overhaul of her school schedule (over which I am still being machine-gunned with complaining text messages from her as I write this); tour two colleges with her; host empty-nester dinner party for all teary friends whose kids also left for college; drive to Pittsburgh and back in one day for funeral (13 hours in car); oh, and help my husband prepare to open a retail store, which I will be running, and still haven't staffed.
That schedule, besides nearly paralyzing me with things-to-do anxiety, reminded me that I like summer. Wait, make that love summer. And I really enjoy having my kids home, without the pressing demands of the school year, the field trips, homework, parent/teacher meetings, PTAs, volunteering out the wazoo, sports practices and games, and schedules that could vie with the President's when it comes to wretched excess.
Even though sometimes I welcome summer vacation with a little too much amnesiac-like zeal, only to wonder "What the hell was I thinking?!" when the house is strewn with the detritus of kids-at-home a few weeks later. Because come late July--when the kids are bored--the bickering ratchets up, the dirty dishes are piled eye-high on the counter, and the mere presence of the kids underfoot can become overbearing.
And then, well then, sure, I fantasize a bit about their return to school, knowing as I do that school was invented for a very good reason. But as I wish summer away, I’m dope-slapped into the truth: Fall brings with it managerial stresses that might not be quite worth the hassles. Give me a leisurely pool day with the kids any time over a crazy schedule that has me racing from 5:30 a.m. (to the gym) till 8:30 p.m. (back from soccer practice, in time to have to prepare a "continental-style" —i.e. one that's obscenely late--dinner).
While there is an element of needed regimentation and conversely some freedom that comes with kids returning to school, there is also an element of, um, the doo-doo hitting the fan.
So instead of actually cheering the kids return to school, I now wave a fond farewell to carefree summertime, and instead look back wistfully on our days at the beach playing in the waves, or sprawled on the couch, reading books, or plugged into Chopped or Ace of Cakes on the Food Network. Now, back to my edits.