Most years, I’m glad to return my children to school. And I don’t mean just glad, I mean ecstatic, overjoyed, beside myself with overwhelming happiness that I’m no longer part-time summer camp director, part-time jail warden, part-time personal chef and full-time zookeeper. When they go back to school, my vacation begins.
But with our oldest child already moved out, our middle child now a senior and only one left who can’t drive, I’m growing sad that these school years will soon be ending. Mind you, I’ve never been PTA president, much less homeroom mom assistant to the assistant, and so I’m also growing concerned that my children are going to remember me as the slacker mom I was rather than the mom of the year I meant to be.
So while I still have some time, I need to rewrite history, sprinkle their memories with some fake news and make them completely forget all the times I picked them up late or made them pass off packaged cookies for homemade ones at every single one of their school parties.
It’s time to reform my image. If Martha Stewart can serve jail time and follow her incarceration with a primetime Christmas special, surely I can become supermom in the next year.
In an effort to replace my senior’s memories, and those of her brother while I’m at it, I pledge to do correct my wayward ways as follows:
• I will not forget to pick you up from school on the days you don’t have your car. Not even once, because that is wrong and also because it seems to be that one thing you guys bring up over and over and over. I get it, you get out at 3, and I will be there. What? You get out at 2:50? Well, therein lies the first problem.
• I will make your school lunch for more than just the first week of school. This will, obviously, also entail my going to the grocery on a regular basis, which is really a huge thorn in my side, but I completely understand. After 12 years you can’t eat one more chicken nugget. Have you tried Chick-fil-A nuggets, though, because those are so good? OK, no – you are right – make your lunch. Done.
• I will no longer let my son wear girl shirts to school. Apparently boy polo shirts button up on one side and girl polo shirts button up the other – who knew. Well apparently most of the eighth-grade boys did last year, so this year – no girl shirts.
• I will not forget to wash your tennis, soccer, cross-country and football gear every single night – twice – on hot. Because throwing them in the dryer for 10 minutes with a dryer sheet and then Febreezing them is not the same...even though it kind of is.
• I will not wait until the last minute to work on your-my project, because all that yelling is bad for everyone. Additionally, I will start working on your bug project at least two weeks earlier, so I can order exotic freeze-dried bugs and not end up super-gluing regular old worms and bees to a piece of cardboard the night before. Because that not only gets you a bad grade, but more importantly it allows that mom – you know the one – to make a better grade than me-you.
• I will remember to sign your agenda book, permission slip, sports waiver and won’t encourage you to forge my name when you call me from the school office, because the principal has an odd habit of putting me on speaker and also because your dad’s signature is much easier to replicate.
• If there is a short period – promise, it will be short – where I can’t make your lunch and you have to eat cafeteria food, I will remember to put money into your lunch account, because it’s embarrassing not only for you, but for me to get that call...day after day. And while part of me thinks it’s character building, your dad doesn’t think it’s funny.
• I will encourage you to attend all practices even if that means I will spend every single day of this next year waiting in my car or sitting in the bleachers for hours on end. One, because I love you and two, because I have a feeling your dad is keeping a file on me, and I probably need to step it up.
• I will remember that it’s important that I get your teacher a Christmas gift, a teacher appreciation gift, a Valentine’s Day gift and an end-of-the-year gift because when I/you get that last tardy before Saturday school begins, she just might be “resting her eyes” as you slip into the room at 8:05.
• I will do my best to not look absolutely pained as I sit through your academic banquet, end-of-the-year crossing, school award program...because you/I worked hard for that physical education award, just as hard as that other child who has won every single other award for the last 12 years. Just as hard.
Comments? You can email Angel Kane at firstname.lastname@example.org. Becky Andrews and Kane are the brains behind Telling Tales, a weekly column in The Democrat.