laura packardWell…..It’s finally almost here.

The scent of it teasing us with the faint wisp of woody, tinny pencil shavings; hope springs from perpetual despair with every sure-solid snap of a 3.99 plastic three-ring binder; and anticipation runs flush within the reflection of a set of see-thru dividers, a double pack of neon note cards and paper-thin protractors laid out like a three card brag.  

What is a TI-30xa 10 digit scientific calculator, anyway? Will it cost as much as college?

Who cares?

School’s back from summer.

It’s the enviable time of year when we picture actually reading (and this part is key) with recently recharged brain cells, the Top 10 Best Books of Summer, our stacks of celebrity rag mags and most, if not all, of our mail. 

We envision, ‘cause it’s still hot as hell outside anyways, a trip to the pool that doesn’t require 27 goggle adjustments, 19 SPF 50 applications and  “Let’s Get Ready To Rumble” ring-side seats for sibling rivalry light-weight, professional boxing.

It’s the month we actually get giddy about uninterrupted work calls, ample and leisurely computer time to make deadlines and not having to move the earth, sun and the heavens to only have to pay half our pay check for childcare so we can just get to work already.

As Erma Bombeck, the wisest and funniest women ever to grace this earth once said, “Insanity is hereditary, you can catch it from your kids.” 

And nothing breeds insanity like being tethered like a too-tight straight jacket to a precocious, bored, somewhat mental but still too cute for words dependent for 73 STRAIGHT up days in a row. But who’s counting?

Still… Even I tend to get a bit unsure of my valiant belief in the celebratory march to the drum of a brand new school year just as soon as it beats its all too cheery thump. 

I will admit I may start the whole process bravely, and with such sure- fire dizzy confidence as I iron, crease and lay back-to-school clothes, shoes and backpacks out with military precision. Yes, I get a jolt of satisfaction wiping out the new lunch boxes, writing little notes, and googling fast and healthy lunch options that don’t wilt 2 hours after you pack them. I even get a bit keyed up sharpening the pencils, setting the alarms and hosing out the car so they don’t get too embarrassed by all the accumulated stuff that tumbles out with a wither and a sigh from the passenger door in the car pool line.

I am on board, right? A willing participant in the creation of easy living and rooms without children draped all over them. I mean, I am so sailing merrily into the days of cool breezes, quiet rooms and full fridges.

I tell myself I don’t even mind the upcoming parent conferences, back-to-school BBQs, the volunteer clipboards, sports screenings and field trip forms filled out in triplicate. Bring on the lists of science fair projects, wax museum costumes, staging requests for the plays, programs and parties that pop up like weeds in the community school garden that need to be tended. 

I can so handle helping with Polymers, degrees of polynomials, Cartesian Planes, Stoichimetry, organic chemistry, periodic tables, dangling participles and translating the entire Constitution to Spanish.  

Sure, they’ll be fears, tears, icky viruses, scraped knees, despair, homework, hurt feelings and feelings of being overwhelmed. 

Not to mention the carting and driving and herding and afterschool activities that invigorate young minds and fill their days and nights with purpose, learning, independence and school spirit.

Ah, the foot loose and flip-flop fancy free days of summer.

I miss them already. 

A little insanity isn’t all that bad, after all. Now…

Is it?