It's not Christmas, it's not Hannukah - it's Back to School time! Do you remember the Staples commercial that played this favorite seasonal tune in the background? Two children stood in the center of the school supplies aisle looking forlorn, shoulders slumped, in total disbelief and perhaps disgust, at the parents kicking up their heels and practically doing kartwheels throughout the office supply store. The shopping cart was happily being filled with pencils, paper, markers and enough supplies to keep the busiest student stocked all school year long. Brilliant! I remember thinking, major kudos to the advertising guru that came up with that one.
I confess, I was not the type of mother to cry at the bus stop, although I didn't do kartwheels during school shopping, either. I was far more excited for my kids than I was sad for myself to see them off to school each year; excited for the friends they would make, excited to cheer for them on the sidelines of every sporting event, excited to hear them at the end of the school day burst through the door and shout 'Guess What?'.
What did make me want to cry was the long list of supplies that were assigned to every child in the classroom. I guess I didn't mind buying the pencils, notebooks, folders and rulers that my children chose that would make studying a bit more enjoyable. But to supply classroom after classroom year after year with tissues, paper towels, disinfectant wipes, etc., etc.; that was always a bit much for a taxpayer to take. But Idigress - that's a conversation for another time.
What does make this feel like the most wonderful time of the year is the sense of newness that arrives with every school year. There's the excitement of new teachers to look forward to, new teammates, new routines and feeling all over again that this is going to be the best year yet! The lazy, hazy days of summer are put behind us, and the home/school/work project 'to do' list is created. Surely, there's plenty of time to get it all done by the end of the school year.
While we may not formally make and talk about resolutions the way we're all expected to do for the traditional New Year, the start of the school year certainly entices us to do things differently, better, and in a more organized way. We'll establish new systems so that we're not easily overwehelmed with the chaos of incoming homework, permission slips, event flyers, meeting notices, volunteer requests - you name it. A master family calendar posted in a prominet place will guide us to ensure that nobody misses a practice, field trips and dental appointments. Backpacks and lunch bags will stand like soldiers in the same place every day ready for the morning fill. This is going to work out just great!
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.