Back to School—at Last!
By Kathi Macias –
How many of you remember the ad where the father is skipping through the office supply store, joyfully tossing paper and pens and erasers into his basket, while his two dejected children shuffle along behind, looking like they just lost their best friend? The reason for the father’s glee? He’s buying supplies to send his little darlings back to school!
Any moms (or dads) out there who can relate? It’s been a long time since my kids lived at home; they have long-since moved on to establish their own families so they too can experience the fun and excitement of summer vacations from a parent’s point of view. (Sort of gives the term “payback” a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?)
Seriously, though, despite the fact that it’s been years (decades!) since I attended a PTA meeting or served as a room mother, I haven’t forgotten those LONG summer days when all my normal routines came to a screeching halt and I spent all my waking hours cooking frozen pizzas and zipping to the store to replace the ice cream supply. I felt as if I’d had a productive day if I had time to brush my teeth and zoom through the shower! Forget doing anything with my hair. It was just sort of…there.
I think it was sometime during my youngest child’s last couple of years before entering junior high that things changed—or, at least, I developed a new perspective on the entire issue. I only wish I’d figured it out sooner because this new perspective finally enabled me to enjoy the last few summers I had before my offspring flew the coop and I was left to contemplate the “empty nest syndrome” (not all of which is a bad thing, I might add!). Some of you may be at that place right now, looking much like the bouncing-with-joy father in the school supplies ad and rejoicing that you’ve survived (or very nearly so) yet another summer vacation with the kids home from school. If that describes where you are today, I hope this little poem that I wrote some twenty or more years ago will encourage you to treasure however many summers you have left with your children, as wild and exhausting as those brief seasons of life may be!
Feet stuck to the floor from Popsicle drips,
Planning and packing for family trips;
So many dishes in the sink—
Must they use a clean glass for every drink?
I just can’t take much more of this noise!
Why can’t they ever pick up their toys?
The slamming door, the ringing phone—
If only I could be alone!
Then suddenly it’s time for school;
No more beach or swimming pool.
Off they go, down the street,
Sounds of laughter and running feet.
A sigh of relief… but wait! What’s this?
A tear in my eye as I blow them a kiss!
Oh, Lord, it seemed to go so fast.
These special times just never last.
Teach me, Father, to value each day,
To live, to love, to laugh…to play.
Kathi Macias (www.kathimacias.com; http://kathieasywritermacias.blogspot.com) is an “occasional radio show host” (www.blogtalkradio.com/communicatethevision) and an award-winning author of more than thirty books, including her September 2010 release from Abingdon Press, Valeria’s Cross.