Everyone within the sound of my whine knows I look forward to back-to-school time with the same intensity that a dehydrated, lost wanderer in the desert yearns for water. I need the replenishing eau-de-vie of a structured school schedule. The guys and I need buses and teachers and aides and occupational/speech/behavior therapists to help restore order and vitality to our floundering, frenetic summer days.
We need school so that when we are all together as a family, we like each other.
These are a few of my favorite things about back-to-school: new sneakers for everyone in vibrant colors, packing sack lunches that get people jazzed, that my children are learning vital things from someone they will actually listen to (i.e. not me), that parts of my house can sometimes stay clean for a couple of hours during the day.
But this year, back-to-school has been a fickle little turncoat. To be honest, back-to-school is currently a complete cluster cuss of heinousness. If back-to-school were a person, I would take away it’s cell phone, subject it to a long and excruciating lecture about how to not be a such a jerk, and then send it to solitary confinement.
Back-to-school has brought my children into contact with all the germs we didn’t care to know about and has stricken us with the plague. Specifically, the past week has involved a mystery virus complete with fever, chills, and a loss of the will to live; a trip to the children’s hospital ER for the nonverbal special needs nine-year-old; three trips to the pediatrician; a grandparent with blood clots and a serious infection (unrelated to back-to-school, but happening in conjunction nonetheless); and Hand Foot & Mouth disease. The latter is something you get when you spend too much time hanging out in cow pastures while eating things with your toes, I presume.
Stickers Doctor informed me that my family’s communicable disease status is simply further proof of a well-documented fact: the first month of school involves more viral illnesses than the other eleven months combined. We are just doing our part in a national month of sickly-ness among the school-aged crowd. We like to be team players.
This basically means that our first two weeks of back-to-school have been really raw and not pretty, sort of like the exact opposite of what you might find on Pinterest (or Satan’s website, as I recently heard it described). Instead of tableaux of pretty jars of sharp-pointed coloring pencils lined up against a sunny window, we were all fevers and mouth sores and irritable sleeplessness. We went all Instagrammy on the first day of school and then we retreated into our quarantine on the second.
We are a house of illness, mothered by an anti-Pintite.