Baumhower: Tissues, Trapper Keepers and triumphWritten by Jeremy Baumhower | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Aug. 23 was my Independence Day — the very day my beautiful children returned to school.
As I walk over the corpses of bawling kindergarten moms who can’t believe little Aidan didn’t cry and that he walked right in the classroom and never turned back … I admit it, I giggle. Every “First Day of School,” I see the huddled masses of moms with mascara running, handing Kleenex to each other like they just witnessed a train wreck. iPhones loaded with freshly snapped pics in hand as they wipe their eyes, with failed promises that they were not going to be the one who cried, often with a sarcastic consoling father nearby. Maybe they thought little Aidan would just refuse to go and they could swoop right in and be his hero one more time. Well, first-time kindergarten parent, I am here to tell you — you’ll be all right.
As a parent of four with my oldest going into her senior year and my youngest tackling the first grade, I have the parental résumé of a “First Day” veteran. Having a home office, I will admit that there is a slight adjustment and sadness that I go through. The newfound silence in the house can be maddening, it can create an emptiness. But rest assured, the silence slowly but always becomes refreshing. The house that just 24 hours before was filled with verbal spats over Wii remotes and constant reminders to wear shoes, or anything, on the bottom of your feet outside has now gone quiet.
First-time Kindergarten parents can also look forward to the house remaining tidier/cleaner. The breakfast and lunch buffet where you spend hours being a short-order chef is now closed and replaced with brown bag planning and management sessions the night before. For those of you who are in a single parent situation or who have both parents working, good news, your part-time summer job as your kids’ personal assistant has ended. You no longer have to worry about the camp costs, the carpooling nor the daytime playdates scheduling. Your kids’ days just became booked.
If you would like to capture a perfect picture of happy grown-ups in forced commerce, take a trip to the local Walmart or Target today. You’ll witness parents floating down the aisles, with smiles on their faces, clutching their children’s school supplies list, all dreaming of their first day back at school. If you see any sad faces, they tend to be on the future students themselves, especially the ones past the fourth grade. On the rarest of occasions, you might even spot the “golden unicorn” of back-to-school shopping: a teacher. Teachers are the easiest to spot because they often appear to be headed to a funeral. I actually giggled as I penned that.
Many school districts including Sylvania and Maumee hold an open house the night before the big day, so students and parents can meet the teachers, drop off supplies, etc. This might be one of my favorite nights of the entire school year. The pageantry, the desk placement drama, is all very similar to the season premiere episode of “The Bachelor.” One by one the families roll in and meet the new teacher and the other pupils, cliques start to form, alliances begin, it seems the only thing missing is host Chris Harrison and the “first impression” rose.
Toledo needs a savvy bar owner to plan a St. Patrick’s Day-like festival for parents on the first day of school. The “Back To School” street festival would start around 7 a.m. and would make the perfect place for every parent to dry their tears … while drinking a well-earned cold refreshing beverage. The hired band, hopefully The Bridges, would play their first song exactly the moment the first bell rang for the new school year. An omelet short-order chef would allow some needed retribution as he politely takes our orders, only to have them changed five times, just as our kids did to us the week before. Unused Wii remotes should be placed on every table as a reminder of the horror we just survived and maybe a “symbolic” unopened box of tissues to represent the moms still crying in the parking lot.
There will be a moment where I am sad with the thought of my babies getting older and growing up. There will just be many more moments of happiness occurring in my quiet house.
To read more of Jeremy Baumhower’s thoughts please follow him on Twitter @jeremytheproduc.