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August 13, 2008

Suburban Turmoil

Now that school is back in session, thousands of mommies across the suburbs are no doubt moping around their empty houses, sniffling as they pick up the bathing suit little Suzy wore all summer or the baseball bat Tommy carried with him the entire month of June. How I miss my dear, sweet children, they think to themselves, biting their knuckles in an effort to hold back a howl of anguish. 

Not.

Just as our children race out of class on the last day of school, shrieking with anticipation and throwing their backpacks in the air, so do their mommies let out loud whoops the moment those kids walk back through the school doors in August. The merry horn-honking and engine-revving you hear in the school drop-off lane that first morning isn’t coincidental — school’s in, baby! Time for mommies everywhere to Par-tay. 

Some mothers opt to spend the day shopping. Others go straight home, mix up a celebratory mimosa and spend the morning watching Regis and Kelly before a two-hour nap. Meanwhile, moms like me, with kids still at home, jealously imagine the celebrations in the houses around us. We let the answering machine take the smug phone calls from the boutiques and bistros. “Carol and Margie and I are at Corbett’s and we thought of you, Lindsay. Why don’t you stop by? Wait a second … You still have the little ones at home, don’t you? Oh well, never mind.”

I don’t let them get to me, because two of my four kids have returned to school. And guess what, Bitches? Those kids can drive. So even though I’m still dodging food hurled by my toddler and teaching a stubborn 4-year-old to add and subtract, I’m rebelling in my own way. With the teenagers gone most of the day, I don’t get dressed until two. Oh yeah. Believe that.

Meanwhile, I dream of the day when my smallest children are both safely contained within the walls of the local elementary school. I imagine myself walking little Bruiser to his kindergarten classroom for the first time, my eyes spilling over with tears. “Don’t be sad, Mommy,” he’ll say, giving me a big hug. “Oh, don’t worry about me, little man,” I’ll reply, pushing him a bit too hard into the classroom. “These are tears of joy, dude,” I’ll whisper as I saunter back down the hall. Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, I’ll be free at last.

I can just picture you reading this and groaning over the relentless self-absorption of middle-class moms. Well, get your panties out of that knot, OK? By the end of this week, reality will have kicked every last one of us squarely in our mom-jeans-encased bee-donk-a-donks. 

First, a sizable portion of us will learn, via a call from the assistant principal’s office, that 75 percent of the on-sale, non-returnable back-to-school clothing we bought over the summer does not meet the school’s dress code. This despite our daughter’s insistence that every last bit of it a) did meet the dress code; b) technically didn’t, but the dress code was never enforced, anyway; or c) was so cute the teachers would love her clearly awesome fashion sense and wouldn’t be able to bring themselves to write her up for it. 

Next, we will find out that the late-July school-supply run we made to beat the crowds has to be repeated. As it turns out, the school-sanctioned supply list seems to have been written in 1988 — the fact that it was mimeographed probably should have been a tip-off. Plus, every stinking year there’s some superbly irritating teacher who insists her entire class use a magenta, 1-1/2-inch binder, as opposed to the standard binders every other teacher allows. We will go to three stores before we find the freaking magenta binder. We will (rightly) despise this teacher for the rest of the year.

Then we will discover that the soccer coach isn’t holding practice until an hour and a half after school has ended. “Prior commitments,” he’ll mutter when we ask for an explanation. It will be up to us to figure out what to do with our kids during that time. All we know is that the school has informed us that our kids are not to be on school grounds until practice starts.

And just like that, our short-lived momcations are over, just a few days after they began. It won’t be long before we really are pining for the days of summer. Sure, the kids were underfoot and incredibly annoying, but at least we weren’t forced to get up at the ungodly hour of 6 a.m. At least we weren’t made to look like fools after being asked for help with pre-algebra homework. At least we weren’t arguing every damn day about tardies and report cards and detentions. 

Thank God the holiday break is only 18 weeks away …


Read more Suburban Turmoil at www.suburbanturmoil.com.