Every September, I vow that this year will be different. This year, leftover lunches won’t molder at the bottom of the backpacks. This year, homework will be done before dinner and this year, the PTO will finally honor me for single-handedly keeping the school system afloat with wrapping paper, candy bar and sweatshirt sales.
The first day of school really is the start of a new year, so in that celebratory spirit, I decided to make a few “School Year Resolutions.” Yeah, I’m going to try to keep my youngest son more organized. Sure, I’ll make an effort to have family dinners at least three times a week and, yep, I’m going to try to ban video games on school days. But the resolutions that I am really excited about are the ones that I’ve made for everybody else.
For moms of overachievers: Don’t tell me that your son spliced DNA at Stanford and built homes for earthquake victims in Chengdu when I just told you that my kid spent the entire summer holed up in the basement playing video games and making pyramids out of empty soda cans.
For the soccer coach: Just because my son was late for practice that doesn’t mean that he isn’t dedicated to the team. He loves soccer. We just couldn’t find his cleats.
For my son’s best friend’s mom: Forgive me when I call you at 6:45 a.m. and ask whether today is an early release day or if the field trip money is due or if it’s the deadline for signing up for teacher conferences. No, I didn’t see the notice that came home in the backpacks last week.
For the parents at the school bus stop: I have not showered. I am wearing my pajama bottoms and I’ve got pillow creases on my cheek. C’mon, cut me a break and look lousy, too.
For the other kids working on the social studies project: Just because you are building a model of a medieval town on my dining room table, don’t expect me to supply all of the sugar cubes, poster board, glue sticks, pipe cleaners, modeling clay, markers and pizza.
For the English teacher: Don’t flunk my kid because his book report is printed on the back of last month’s school lunch menu. We are working to reduce our carbon footprint – and we’re out of printer paper.
For the mom who worries more than me: Don’t talk to me about what private schools you are thinking about applying to or what town you might move to because your child is not being challenged. Don’t tell me that the math teacher is an escaped convict or complain that the science class watched Finding Nemo … again. Your words will haunt me. I will lie in bed at night and worry. I will toss and turn. I will wake up my husband and tell him that we need to sell the house.
For the other soccer/band/scout/gymnastics/moms: Repeat after me: “I can drive today.”
Even with these resolutions, it’s possible that my kids might not make the honor roll or remember to bring home the permission slip for the field trip and it’s possible that I’ll still wake up some night and wonder why I ever thought that reproduction was a reasonable idea. But today, there’s a notebook without any doodles, a pair of sparkling white sneakers and a new backpack that doesn’t smell like dead bananas. It’s going to be a great year.