Back to School (Fiction)

Starting school for my youngest was such a fun idea, and we were enjoying talking about the different new things he would experience at school. Summer didn't seem quite over. There was still the August summer birthday pool party to go to for Tom, Larry, and Guy. Sally and Jane had opted to throw a beginning of June party together and invite a local talent for entertainment. The boys had really loved the bounce house next to the pool the most. Especially when they found out they could enlarge the hole in the netting screen so they could practice their double corkscrews into the water. Mr. Cleaver had asked for contributions to help with the deductible on his insurance claim, and the ambulance ride fee, when Freddy hit his head on the edge of the infinity overlook.

But the list! How could I have forgotten! The list of support, love, and investment.

The list was received, added to the grocery to do's, and anxiety increased. Where was I going to get the money for the supply list? Type 2 pencils, eraser, 1 box Crayola crayons - no off brand please!, 1 box 10 basic color washable markers - no neon colors. 5 types of paper. One box of Puff or Kleenex brand only, 150 count tissues. A ruler. Box or pouch with 2 pockets to place items in. 5 dollars to contribute to new auto pencil sharpener. If not able to contribute, then child needs to have a pencil sharpener at his desk and list of students who can use the automated sharpener will be next to the station for sharpening. (aka the list of parents that didn't remember or care) 10 pack of wipes for the classroom, no bleach, all alcohol - Made me wonder where they stored these and if the room was cooled or heated for maximum fermentation. Hair cuts, shoes, shirts, shorts, socks, lunch box - no hero's on the outside because children are fighting and selling their boxes in the cafeteria to their peers - Ninja Turtles are out, Avengers are in. Nike or Under Armor. No New Balance, Reebok, or store brand shoes. Close toed, no sandals. White towels only and change of clothes on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Sara was starting her first period at her new intermediate school with gym class. Speaking of period. I wonder if the School Nurse was going to be there for my sweetie if she happened to begin becoming a woman. I sensed that it was going to be time soon.

(flashback insert rocking motion) I had my own progression into this phase and right of passage into womanhood and recalled the terror I had when I was discovering it all on my own right after rinsing off from Mr. Johnson's 8 am Presidential Fitness Gym Class. Mom had not said anything. There I was, scared to say anything. Afraid of what Mr. Johnson would think. Betty Ann had noticed and was kind to ask Mr. Johnson if she could go and get the Nurse. I hadn't moved and the showers had been turned off to conserve water as part of the city conservation program that year. Fortunately Nurse Sewell was so sweet and kind. She made a place behind her metal desk for me to lie down on the pallet she had made on the floor. She thought this best since Brock the Jock was complaining of a rash that was itching and he had caused to bleed by scratching it too hard in Math Class. There was a trip to the office to talk to Mom on the phone in front of the desk lady, Mrs. Red. The call, the extra clothing brought, Mom apologizing that she could not find my unicorn shorts and gold sparkle top to make me feel better, and the school nurse explaining the birds and the bee's which I learned about further in my health class that year, until the clothing and smiley mom arrived and hugged and gave me a promise ring to wear from Macy's 5 dollar case. (back to reality and wondering why the Lay's bag was crumpled in my hand).

All signatures and paperwork on the status of the court decrees due 2 weeks before first day of school. Wow, that deadline was tomorrow!

Welcome letter said welcome on the first page but everything below the line was what the teacher expected from the parents and Room Mom who were participating in the class Teacher gift at the end of the year. I was quietly happy that had "accidentally been ill with a fever" the day everyone had met to nominate said position. Betty Ann had told me that I was second runner up when they counted the votes. The dues money was due no later than September first. All parents late would need to pay 50 cents for the number of days they were late. 

Fall party. This seemed new until I noticed their was not an event for Halloween. The Fall Carnival was also asking for sign ups for volunteering to be safety guides on the slides and bounce houses. Local Dad's were indicating their idea to sponsor the barbecue cook out and said that since Trunk or Treat was such a success they would be starting their garbage can donation candy drop offs located next to the entrances to the school the first week of school They noted their can's would be spray painted bright orange since last year someone had found a dirty diaper in a donation can.

Field Trip to the Fire Station, Outdoor Learning Center, Class Garden, Trip to Petland (no kids with allergies allowed to attend), extra field day to Ranger game if they make the playoffs, expectations for the child that is "honored" with caring for the class animal this year - current voting indicating it is a toss up between a goldfish named Goldie and a ferret name Dangerous. Weekend feeding mandatory, no exceptions since Susie Lee had an incident where the class parakeet went accidentally missing over a weekend, and its partner changed his feather colors yellow, then green, then light pink by the end of the year. Susie's parents always just shrugged and smiled at each other that year. 

4 cans of Animal Crackers - Keebler - Fresh with expiration date of 2025 or greater. Sign up list to participate in the Mom-a-thon small business extravaganza (Scentsy, Candles, Girl Scout Cookies, Chocolate Bar Breakout, Balloon Animal Maker, Party Clown, Pro-Photographer's, Natural Oil Sales, Financial Day Trader's all welcome). Extra tutoring offered after school to kids that do have a mom involved in a small business after school on Monday's and Thursday's. Please pick up child before the start of Bachelor on Monday nights and Survivor on Thursday nights. Contribution to the summer mission fund of the teacher who had plans to go to Bali in 2019 this year. Scheduling the first day of school photo session with said professional mommy Photographer certainly helped to get your choice of times. I was glad to get my choice in by June 1 this year and was looking forward to reviewing the proofs for the grandparents Labor Day gift.

The intro is fictitious, but didn't it begin to weigh on you. What happened to the joy of learning and having sparkling eyes and happy laughter, and triumphant Mom's racing out of the parking lot on the first day to a quiet home where they could cry because they are lonely and the house is so silent. Wow, there are so many different emotions with this. Is this why there is an up tick in sales regarding pain medications or alcohol sales the week of back to school? I don't know and I don't pretend to know, but there are so many different ways to deal with emotions and pain these days, and our culture has given us the idea that avoiding and numbing one self is so much better for the pleasure centers of the brain. In fact the list above and fictitious scenarios are kind of numbing as well. Instead of doing that, I have found that a few sessions with a professional counselor have done wonders for this pain and ends up being a lot cheaper than the addictions I used in the past.

Soon I will hear a daily diesel engine coming down my street and the squeal of hot brakes as the double pane doors slide open to accept it's local gaggle, or drop them off. I wonder how Tom and Guy will get their Cello's onto the bus. They are sophomores this year and have not gotten their right of passage. I suppose having twins in the home, means that this mom wants to wait to change their current transport needs. Sometimes their lilting sounds of music come wafting out of open summer windows when they are practicing for first chair in the school orchestra. Their Mother must really enjoy how accomplished they are. The hum of the wooden instruments is so peaceful.

Football 2 a days started this week for the older lads. I hear the whistles blow when I pass by the fields at 6 after the donut run on Monday mornings for work. Sometimes I wonder if it is drills or the coaches trying to break up a fight. Randy the current local quarterback can be faintly heard barking orders to his offense sometimes.

His Dad gave him a Ford F150 late last year and I see that he put a lift kit on it this year and new LED light bar for when he takes his posse of friends out near the stream under the railroad tressel in the evenings to listen to the bull frogs and hear the echos of their laughter bounce off the quarry across the way. The two tennis balls hanging under the axle are hard to miss when he is rolling past our house down to his fathers 3 story custom built home in the cul-de-sac past the white King of Kings Church on Millionaire Drive. Frequently I have seen a couple of co-eds in the cab flaunting their brown skin and sun kissed tresses as they listen to the latest rock anthem from Metal Heads. I still shake my head and wonder how those darlings are being careful to enjoy all freedom that they have in the waning days of Summer of 2018.

Summer, where are you going and what memories have you had?