Back to school time brings mixed feelings for me. The kids’ feelings are less mixed, and quite loudly verbalized. Summer was way too short, they didn’t get to relax enough, and they can’t believe I am mentioning the summer reading that seems to have gotten compressed – as it does Every. Stinking. Year. – into the last week or so of summer.
There is no learning curve here. There is no memory of me yelling that now that there are 4 days and counting, and they still have to read two 300-page books (which they were told in JUNE, for God’s sake, and weekly thereafter), and that they won’t leave their rooms until some real progress has been made, and won’t they feel badly when all of their friends are cavorting in the park in the days leading up to school and they are crash reading and annotating Naomi Leon, but they have only themselves to blame, and maybe NEXT year they will remember this feeling, and we can avoid all of this Sturm und Drang (which is a late 18th century German literary movement characterized by works containing rousing action and high emotionalism that often deal with the individual’s revolt against society…yes, I had to look it up, but doesn’t it capture the moment beautifully?), and it’s very necessary to get a better hold on their responsibilities and scheduling.
I think I feel a little bit dizzy. You know the quote “Those who don’t learn from history are destined to repeat it?” I guess Winston Churchill was thinking of my children when he wrote that.
And on a related note, I do always freak out a bit when I stop into a store for some sunblock in July and suddenly there are backpacks and loose leaf binders staked on the shelves. It’s a real splash of icy water. I will not discuss the Thanksgiving decorations piled high in the stores in early August.
Anyway, one of the things that brings mixed feelings, at best, for many parents is the looming thought of making all of those school lunches. My friends Catherine McCord and Stacey Billis clearly have found the making of school lunches to be an art form, an exciting and inspiring daily challenge. They are the Zen masters. The rest of us are not.
In the next weeks I’ll offer up some ideas for making the whole school lunch thing less repetitive, stressful, and overall sucky. And if you have tips and strategies for getting together great lunches for your little darlings, I very much hope you’ll share back.