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January 17, 2021

First day of school could be a holiday

The last weeks of summer are what I like to call “Christmas for Grown Ups.” Yes, it’s that wonderful time of year when all the kids go back to school. Seriously, it should be a national holiday. It would be awesome. We could have traditions like buying new clothes, new books and pencils and rulers…and countdown calendars to the big day so that parents don’t miss the best day ever.
Oh, wait. That already happens. Well, except for the countdown calendar.  That could just be my own personal thing.
I know I’m not the only one celebrating. Don’t believe me? Check out your Facebook newsfeed. In between the ads for Pottery Barn, the political memes from your old college roommate who has never met a controversial thought he couldn’t post, and the random Tardis sightings from your second cousin, some serious celebrating is going on. Pictures upon pictures of kids in shiny new school clothes and cool haircuts are posted with captions like “Freedom!”
So, after a long summer of summer camps, bike rides, family vacations and weekends at Grandma’s, it’s now time to get back to school. And most parents couldn’t be happier. Oh sure, there’s a mom or two shedding tears over this–but honestly? They are mostly the moms of kindergarteners. Look, if you want to see true happiness, drive by a middle school. Some of those parents don’t even stop the car to drop their kids off. It’s tuck and roll, people. Tuck and roll.
And then the celebrating begins. Maybe it’s a trip to the Starbucks drive-thru before work. Maybe it’s just a latte.
But it’s a freedom latte. Also, possibly a cookie that nobody else will eat but the adult in the car. That’s freedom.
Sadly, for many children, this is not a holiday. There are no celebrations. The real torture is just beginning. No more lazy days outside. No more raiding the freezer for ice cream. No more time running through the neighborhood screaming at the top of their lungs for no reason whatsoever.
Sadly, too, the celebrations end for the grown ups. Once the homework starts, even alone time in the bathroom can’t compensate for the horror you feel when you realize you can’t help your child figure out second grade math.
But for right now, don’t think about conjugating verbs or figuring out equations. Just get a latte.
And relish the freedom of that cookie.

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