It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

As a kid, Christmas is the best time of year. As a parent, you look forward to The First Day of School like you would a trip to the Caribbean Islands because if you have to watch one more iCarly rerun you’re running away and becoming Activities Director on the first departing Carnival Cruise Line.

The end of summer is the end of whining: I’m bored. Can you give me a ride to the mall? There’s nothing to eat in this house! I’m bored. I’m hungry. Can I have some money? I’m bored.

Now the tables are turned: Do your homework. Study. Did you finish your science project? It’s a school night. I don’t care how late your friends get to stay out. Have you thought about college? These are the best years of your life. Wait ’til you get out in the real world!

If you’re a teenager, you probably aren’t aware that no parent actually goes to work on The First Day of School. All across America there are block parties. Parents are dancing in the streets, passing out candy bars to each other. There are marching bands. Parades. Clowns riding unicycles. Bottle rockets. Jousting. Animal sacrifice. We sweep up the confetti and streamers then we all go home and take naps. Now you know.

I still have two little ones at home. Preschool looms on the horizon along with pedicures, leisurely showers, and bathroom breaks by myself. But without teenagers in the house there is no one to leave crumbs on the counter, finish the Doritos, or lose the remote control. At least not before 3:00 pm.

On my way to the grocery store today I saw the white, yellow and black school zone signs telling me to have CAUTION and slow to 15 mph. I breathed a sigh of relief. All is right in the world again.

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On a serious note, I was fortunate enough to never have been bullied but too many children are scared to go school. Checkout The Bully Project on DoSomething.org. Join the thousands who are standing together against bullying. Support GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network), who works to make schools safe for every child. Visit Pacer.org for resources on preventing and responding to bullying. Do what you can to make a difference. I thank you on behalf of all the children whose stomachs tighten up and palms sweat just thinking about recess, walking in the hallways, and any second the teacher’s back is turned.

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