'Twas a few nights before school starts
And all through the land,
The packing of backpacks
Was almost at hand.
(And making lunches, and remembering gym shoes on Fridays, and oh by the way Mom, there's a bake sale today and we're supposed to bring 4 dozen cupcakes)
The kids were all sleeping,
Bedtime stories were read.
But one mom was still up,
She was tossing in bed.
(And that says a lot given how freaking sleep-deprived she is)
She's not sad because school
Marks a milestone so big;
Her 5-year-old boy
Is so up for that gig.
(And so, for that matter, is her 3-year-old who keeps telling everyone she's also going to kindergarten. Nice try, Preschool Princess.)
She knows of many moms
Who've been counting the days
'Til school bells would ring
And they'd have their turn to play.
(That includes the 3 separate "First Day of School Champagne Toast" parties she'd been invited to, but had to decline because office policy doesn't really allow for boozing it up at 10am on a Tuesday.)
No, this mom's head danced
With a mixture of dread and of fear;
It'd been such a sweet summer
In the midst of a very tough year.
There was the week at the lake
And all those times at the pool,
Long nights in the yard,
Movies inside to stay cool.
(Not to mention the teething baby and his endless puddles of drool. Hey, it rhymes, and it was certainly a big part of the summer.)
There were moments, though brief
So easy and free;
Times of respite and pause,
When she could finally just BE.
(As much as a mom of 3 kids ages 5 with a Type-A personality, a full-time job, and overtime neuroses is ever capable of just being)
In those moments so fleeting
She forgot to be stressed,
Or to worry, or struggle,
Or sometimes to even get dressed.
(Hey, working from home a few days/week has its advantages.)
Two kids mastered bikes,
The third can now walk.
They all splashed and they swam,
And all of them talk.
(OK, one of them mostly screams, but he does have a handful of words.)
Now with school will come changes:
New faces, new places.
Between preschool, kindergarten, and daycare-
It's off to the races.
(In which the goal is not to win, but to just successfully transport all children to their respective dropoffs and somehow make it to work before noon.)
And once the clock runs out
On those summer delights,
She'll find it hard to ignore
The darker corners of life.
(Though still easy to ignore the darker corners of the house when it comes to cleaning.)
There's illness and pain
And suffering so great,
In loved ones, and it seems
It's now all up to fate.
There's the feeling that
She is always two steps behind,
At home and at work,
In and heart and in mind.
But she must keep on going,
Can't live in the past,
Because time is too precious,
Childhood too fast.
So she hoped all the warmth
And sunscreen and chlorine,
Would trigger some sort of reaction
In ways unknown and unseen.
(Because it definitely did a number on the carpet in the front room, but that is neither here nor there)
She prayed that summer would stay
In their hearts all year long,
That she could feel that soft breeze
When she needs to be strong.
(And also on those days when the AC goes out in the office and it starts to smell like a mixture of desperation and feet.)
And she prayed the new season
Would bring lessons for all.
So farewell sweet, sweet summer,
And happy school days this Fall.