by Leslie Morgan Steiner
As much as I grow wistful as summer ends, like most moms, I secretly look forward to a return to the peaceful structure of the school year. Sure, we have to get up early. But after 60 minutes of breakfast-teethbrushing-shoetying insanity, I’m back in my office by 8:15 with HOURS of uninterrupted time to work stretched in front of me. Day after day, week after week, until next June.
This year was no exception. In anticipation of a smooth transition, I made myriad work commitments as part of my own “back to school” schedule.
School started Tuesday with a three hour orientation from 9-12. The kids all loved their teachers. The girls looked so cute in their back to school outfits, neatly braided hair, and their new backpacks. My son sported a new buzz cut and an Abercrombie outfit he’d shopped for himself. Everything was bathed in an Indian summer glow.
Until that night at dinnertime, when my son went pale and started throwing up. The flu. He was up all night. We spent most of the next day at the doctor’s office – glad I could be there with him, glad he had neither swine flu nor Strep. But that time was supposed to be spent prepping for four important meetings next week.
Then last night my two girls both got sick. And I’d forgotten that the electrician was coming this morning to fix the phone, the computers and the television. The back door lock jammed – luckily the locksmith was available. My house resembled a three-ring circus all morning. On the way home from the second trip to the pediatrician’s, my car ran out of gas. (Okay – I had 8/10ths gallon left and made it to Sunoco…but I ALMOST ran out of gas.)
My husband has been out of town for all of this drama. He conveniently arranged not one but three back-to-back business trips for the first week of school. This gives me pause. I always thought I was the smart one in the family. Clearly I was mistaken.
Well, at least I got those three hours the first day.
Somehow, in the bliss of a mostly-lazy, largely-uneventful summer, I forgot the basic truth of my adult life: motherhood is a COMEDY like no other. A never-ending sitcom with no audience, no ratings, no residual payments. Is it worth it? Ask me next week.