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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back to School and Back to Normalcy...

It has been a wonderful summer for my family.

In June, we took an amazing road trip to North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee and stopped at a resort near Jacksonville on our way back. In July, we went to my wife’s family’s yearly vacation to Sanibel Island, and, in early August, I had a brief chance to see my cousins, whom I had not seen in several years.

However, as much as I enjoyed our summer break, there is nothing better then getting back to a normal school year routine.

I imagine summer time for many parents is like, what I’ve heard, boat ownership is like. They say that the best days in a boater's life are the day they buy the boat and the day they sell it. Although, I’m not suggesting parents can’t wait to cast off their kids into the abyss, after a long hot summer, it’s sure good to have them back in school!

There’s something to be said about the rush and craziness of school day mornings; the alarms going off, Fox News popping on the TV (which, in my house, is not limited to school days), the kids fighting over who sat on who’s bed, my wife yelling at the them to get out of bed, to make their beds, to stop dragging their feet and get dressed, already, and to brush their teeth and hair, as she tries to get herself ready and make breakfast for them.

Meanwhile, nobody seems to care that I'm trying to read in the bathroom and get constantly interrupted by kids knocking at the door, asking for tooth brushes, tooth paste, retainer boxes, hair brushes, hair bands, etc. As Charlie Brown would say, "Good grief!" (It doesn’t help that I use their bathroom because my wife is getting ready in ours!)

There seems to be a chaotic symmetry, which can only be experienced within a nuclear family during the stress of getting ready and out the door in time to beat the late bell.

Although, for us, that morning frenzy isn’t limited to weekdays. On Saturday mornings, we are rushing to get my younger daughter to soccer on time and on Sunday mornings, we are rushing to get to 9am Mass, where our older daughter sings in the Children’s Choir.

In any event, with the start of school, comes more regimented schedules and discipline, which leads to more harmony in our household.  The kids start going to sleep at a normal bedtime (giving me more free time to blog), the girls start ballet classes, my younger daughter starts soccer and soon my son will start t-ball.  I am also more likely to get up to go to the gym or run in the morning, since I too end up going to bed earlier, and despite all the hastiness and havoc in the mornings, my wife and kids (now, that my 4-year-old son starts going to the same school) are out of the house by 7:30am.

It gives me plenty of time to get ready in peace and make it to morning Mass again, which aside from the week in Sanibel, has been a rarity for me throughout the summer.   Although, I will miss the bonding time with my son!

Moreover, as of this week, my men's group starts weekly meetings in preparation for our upcoming retreat in October and my wife and I start hanging out with many of our school and parish friends, who we don’t see as often during the summer. (Have you noticed a pattern through all this?)

Yep, it’s good to have our kids back to school (or should I say, it’s good for me)...

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