You would think with how many years we have been doing this, the first day of school wouldn’t require anything other than waking up, eating a bowl of cereal, and getting on the bus. Instead, we have been drafting the first day of school itinerary for the past 2 weeks and all of our planning has led to this. Clothing has been picked out and laid out. Lunches have been Ziploc’d and packed. 5 different alarm clocks have been set for various times starting from sunrise. We could not be more ready for Monday morning except…
My wife has never been good with this day. Seems after spending 100 days of summer vacation with the kids, she still wants them to stay home with her even though the Pennsylvania Public School System has once again given her a get out of jail free card by mandating we send our children to school. So while we are all ready to go (which means waking up late and running around like maniacs in the morning), my wife, not so much.
Sunday Night. Sometime around 10:30pm
“I am so sad.” My wife is prone to fits of sadness over MasterCard commercials so for her to declare feeling melancholy should be taken with a grain of salt.
“What’s the matter?” I’m careful when I ask because even after almost 14 years of marriage and honing my senses about her tone to a razor’s edge, her sense of knowing when my eyes roll could be compared to a Masamune Katana.
“Don’t you dare roll your eyes at me.” Damn it.
“I’m sorry. I meant, what’s the matter sweetheart?” As I strain to keep my eyes in place, I give her a look like I’m about to melt her face with heat vision.
“Stop looking at me like that, you’re creeping me out.” I’m going to need to start wearing sunglasses in the house.
“The kids start school tomorrow.” I thought there would be something else after that phrase but no. That was it.
“I know the kids start school tomorrow. Now why you are sad?” At some point I am going to learn. When, I don’t know, but some day.
“I’m going to miss the kids you idiot.” My wife likes to use colorful adjectives to describe me to drive home her point.
“Are you talking about our kids? The same ones you told me were ‘Your children’ when I came home from work the other night? You mean those kids?” I’m hoping my wife is exhausted, dehydrated, temporarily insane or some combination of the three because she is talking crazy.
“My babies are going in to 6th grade and 3rd grade. They can’t be this grown up.” If I know my wife like I think I do, she will be visualizing our daughters as adults filling out their marriage applications.
“Alicia, they’re going to elementary and intermediate school not signing up for an AARP card.” I have to bring her down off the ledge. I don’t know that sarcasm will do it but I’m giving it a try.
“Next thing you know you’ll be walking them down the aisle.” I told you I knew my wife.
“Don’t worry, I’ll make sure they invite you to the wedding too. Play your cards right, you might even get to come to the rehearsal dinner.” I might as well indulge my wife’s delusions of grandeur about our children.
“Very funny. I just can’t believe it. I don’t want them to grow up. I want them to be babies again.” I bet she would change her mind the minute I put the diaper genie back in the living room.
“They are growing up and they should be. It will be a lot easier for us to tell them to move out when they’re older because they won’t be as cute as they are now.” I like to get a head start on things.
“That is terrible. Don’t you want them home with us?” There is a 50/50 chance she means this statement.
“Is that a trick question?”
“No! I’m really going to miss spending each day with them. Aren’t you?” I should have gone with 80/20 out of the gate.
“Listen, it’s a proven fact that kids need structure…and homework. School is great for both of those things.” I’m not sure on my “facts” but I wanted to make my statement sound more official and backed by science, even if it turns out my science is as authentic as alchemy.
“You just don’t understand. I’m their mother. It’s my natural instinct to have my kids close to me.” She drops the “I’m their mother card, you wouldn’t understand” card on me like a 4th Ace in a 4 of a kind in 5 card poker.
“I understand that we should be waking them up extremely early, pushing them on to a bus, and hoping they come home with some idea on how to long divide.” Life is all about building character. My Dad always told me waking up 3 minutes after the sun came up does just that.
“I can’t believe you are so lackadaisical about their first day of school?”
“It is their 7th and 4th first day of school respectively. I’ve grown accustomed to it.”
“Well I haven’t. I’m going to miss them.”
“Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” I’ll appeal to her mind because her heart is making too much noise.
“So when are you leaving?” I walked right in to that one.
“The best thing we can do for the girls is to send them to school for 8 hours. It will make them appreciate being home a whole lot more.”
“I just can’t help it.” I don’t think she is trying hard enough.
“I don’t think you’re trying hard enough.”
“I’m not sure I want to talk to you anymore.” After this conversation, that might not be as big a punishment for me as my wife thinks.
“MOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMM!” From across the hall, our 8 year old calls my wife. It is the third time since she went to bed that she beckoned for my wife (they only call for me at 2 o’clock in the morning when I am asleep).
“Still not ready for them to go back?” My wife gets up off of the bed and begins walking towards the door.
“This is the third time right she’s calling me? Yeah, I think my mind is changing.”