Monday, August 1, 2011

Those three words

The first week in August always marked the start of the County Fair (still does)...shorter days...longer, cooler nights...and those three dreaded words I never wanted to see or hear or talk about.

Back to School.  

I can still see the play kitchen set in my kindergarten classroom - neatly organized with pots and pans and plastic fruit.  I can smell the minty paste...because we had time for art projects in kindergarten back then - really, we did.  And I can hear the sound of my teacher's gentle, yet stern, voice as she pried my fingers from around my mother's neck.   I liked Mrs. Clark.  That woman even visited my house a few weeks before school started.  In fact, I still have the copy of  JUST FOR YU YOU that she gave me when she came to visit.  It's in a green bin in my classroom dedicated to my Mercer Mayer collection.  But her visiting my house and me going to school were two different stories.  

Back to School. 

Don't get me wrong...I loved getting ready for it every year.  Walking up and down the aisles of Kmart with my mom, filling the cart with Lisa Frank unicorn trapper keepers...folders with kittens...un-sharpened pencils...fresh pink erasers...highlighters...notebooks... stuff I might never even use, but it was cute.   Coordinating Strawberry Shortcake backpack and lunchbox.  Benetton outfits with matching hair bows.  Saddle shoes & knee socks.  I was set...what's not to love?  I loved it all...until the bus pulled up.  I'd break into a sweat just thinking about it.  Who am I kidding?  I still break into a sweat just thinking about it.  Only now, I'm on the other side of the desk. 

Bring back memories?
Back to School.

I'm not sure why I didn't like it.  I got good grades, had great teachers, at least one good friend, and my mom packed that Strawberry Shortcake lunch box with the best cheese sandwiches (my request) & sweetest little notes you could ever imagine. 

Back to School.

Many days I'd wake up gagging until I threw up...I "went blind" one morning & my mom threatened to call the ambulance; I told her I'd dial the number...She chased a red umbrella with polka-dots down the road in the pouring rain while my bus driver waited patiently for her return...Oh the stories.  I know there are more - many more.  My dad still jokes about the irony of my career path.

Back to School.

The years passed, and I became more tolerant...but school was never my thing.  I loved spending time with my mom, and leaving her tore me apart.   College came & went, and I went back home or to visit Dan almost every. Single. Weekend.   If I didn't, Dan would come to see me.  Leaving them on Sunday nights tore me apart.  Fast forward 11 years... we're married with two kids, a house, and successful careers.  I love my job, but I love my family more...and leaving them tears me apart.

Back to I go again for the 28th year.

But before that, I have a baby to snuggle & back to school shopping to do with my biggest boy.  Besides...I smell fresh candied apples (the kind smothered in chocolate & caramel and sprinkled with almonds & chocolate chips)...looking forward to heading back home this weekend to catch some fun at the fair :)

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