“Back to School”—those words alone send chills down my spine. This year my little grandson is going to 5-year kindergarten and will be there all day: 8:00 to 3:00. Seriously? I can already see my bed-head sleepy boy trying to get up, get dressed, force down breakfast, and reluctantly go to school knowing that playtime is now restricted to the afternoon.
It was that way when Eric and Brian were in school. I dreaded the start of school. Of course, we had the requisite parent/teacher meetings, room mother assignments, and school clothes requirements. I was laughing today with a friend who has a child now in junior high school. Oh my, I remember those days as being the worst years with my boys. They didn’t like anything, and they didn’t really want to acknowledge that they had parents. You know, drop them at the street three blocks from the school, don’t come for lunch, and don’t wave or speak in front of friends. Fortunately that changes back in high school.
One morning during their junior high school days, they came to the breakfast table just arguing with each other and with me. This had become a pattern that I just didn’t like. I like “happy” in the morning that will set the tone for the day, especially when you are parting. Well it was one of those “I have had it” days, and so I told them that since they choose to ruin my day, today I was going to ruin theirs. Right over their heads…no reaction. As the unpleasantness continued and we loaded up for school, I had my plan.
As we neared the school, rather than slowing down at the “three block drop off,” I sped right up to the front door much to their dismay. I told them goodbye, and as they were closing the doors, I rolled down the windows and screamed, “Bye babies! Momma loves you!”
As I drove off I saw two boys running for the building like Olympic sprinters. When I drove up that afternoon to pick them up, they were hiding behind the columns looking to see if I had any more tricks up my sleeves. I simply smiled when they got in and asked, “Now, are we going to have any more unpleasant mornings?” No ma’am. And the rest of their school careers, breakfasts were fun and we parted ways on a happy note. Drastic times call for drastic measures—or very creative mothering.
That story is true, and my sons at 33 years old still remember it vividly. When it’s time to go back to school, well sometimes you just have to use your intuition to make things work.
Do you have any funny stories about back to school times in your life?