There is no sweeter sound to the human ear than the “Bing” of the email announcing the school open-houses.
From the news that I can gather from around the country, school is either back in or will be by Monday. Even though school schedules get crazy at times it is a schedule. Working moms and dads no longer have to worry about their middle kids. These are the kids in the middle who are too old for day care but are really too young to be left alone for an entire day. These are the ones who go to various camps during the summer and get swimmer’s ear because of the time spent in the pool. These are the ones who can cook their own lunch, wash a few loads of clothes, and stay glued to a game for the entire day UNLESS a sibling passes through the vicinity.
I always thought my children were a little safer when left alone because of the numbers. You know, siblings helping each other out. Now, as they become parents they tell me stories that I would rather not hear. Stories about the times they were left alone. Primarily over the summer if dad and I were both working.
One time I came home to find the entire frame around my bedroom door busted and the door hanging. The children were sitting side by side on the couch, hands folded in their laps, eyes wide, fake smiles plastered on. The TV was turned off and there they sat like two angels. No one confessed but bit by bit I pieced the story together through discussing the event with some of the uninvolved siblings.
Apparently, there was a chase. A chase like in the movies, you know, where the bad guys are trying to get away and the good guys are having to give chase. Well, SHE got ahead of HIM and tried to slam the door in HIS face. About the time SHE got the door closed HE decided to bang up against it with his shoulder like in the movies AND IT WORKED!
The door jamb cracked, the lock popped, and he was able to push through and on towards the bathroom door where SHE knocked a hole in in trying to push it closed with HER elbow. And they were screaming and we tried, tried, tried to stop them. And, well, if you think about it, it was kinda cool. It happened just like in the movies. BAM and the door crashed open!
When they tell this story they laugh and still try to convince me that it was the other one’s fault. All I remember is that my door was broken for a long time. There are other stories just as crazy and when I look back I am amazed that: none of the children broke a bone or that the house did not catch on fire. Well, there was a fire incident but that was high school years, and we were out of town, not just in town at work.
Needless to say, like many other parents, I long for the beginning of school each fall. I eagerly roam the aisles at Walmart tossing spirals, compositions, and wide-ruled papers into my basket alongside the cheese sticks, beef jerky bits, and packaged sugar bombs. I gladly purchase name-brand shoes (within reason) and take them for strange haircuts with half of their hair hacked off and the other half hanging over their eyes. The middles are more than ready each fall.
This fall, my school started two weeks before theirs and that left many a long, hot afternoon lounging around like lizards at the side of a dried up creek. Each time I pulled up into the driveway I could hear their battle cry echoing around the backyard, “There is nothing to do!”
Thank you to all of the bus drivers, cafeteria workers, secretaries (administrative assistants), crosswalk guides, janitors and parent volunteers who go early and prepare the schools for our children. Thank you to all of the principals, assistant principals, coaches, and teachers who watch over our middles, our babies, and our teens. Blessings to you each day as you influence our children and help them along their journey.