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To the Mom of Kids Too Young to Go Back to School, I Feel You

Photograph by Twenty20

I know you see it. I know you look at the calendar and see July rolling over to August. I know you’re eyeing their little closets and dressers that are already vomiting clothes and you’re wondering how you’re going to stuff jackets and pants and sweaters and boots into them. Just burn it, you’re thinking. And you might be right.

I see you giving the side-eye to those school supplies at Target while you’re cruising down the aisle with your Starbuck’s Frapp and kids hanging off every corner of the cart. I know you’d like to ram the Crayola display, just cut a swath of destruction through the notebooks and glitter pens and Moana backpacks. You’d rain down fire on the grocery store for even having back-to-school sales on Lunchables if you could.

Because you are the mom of infants and toddlers and threenagers, and there is no back-to-school for you.

I’m right there with you. I'd raise my fist to you in solidarity as we pass each other in the park at 10 a.m., already sweating it out like Richard Simmons, but I'm too tired. And my kids need a snack. And a nap and a seasonal shift that would look just a tiny bit different than the one we’ve all been living for the past half a dozen years or so. They need recess—on someone else’s property.

I would LOVE to buy a cartload of construction paper and highlighters and glue sticks and send them with my hyped-up twin 3-year-olds to be used in a place that is not our living room.

They can sit, chat, chillax. Because to them, there is an ending and beginning to their seasons. There is a “just around the corner” to be had.

I see the moms of older kids fist bump at the pool while discussing school rosters and bus schedules and all that is just around the corner. They are the ones in the lounge chairs because they don’t have to chase their kids around the perimeter with sunscreen and floaties like a lunatic. They can sit, chat, chillax. Because to them, there is an ending and beginning to their seasons. There is a “just around the corner” to be had.

I feel you, I do. Our lives are one long endless summer, but we’re not riding the waves. We’re just trying to stay afloat in our kiddie pool, ideally with a margarita.

And yet, I have to say, it’s not all bad.

I’m wooing myself with the idea of chasing leaves down the sidewalk at noon. And not doing homework. And not packing lunches. And not sucking up to a teacher 10 years younger than me. And not running out the door by 8 a.m. And not making small talk with other mothers who I would never be friends with because they actually wear makeup and drink tea instead of coffee.

It’s nice to be master of our schedule and run away to the movies in the afternoon if we need to and let them whisper bizarre things to me right before nap.

Our time will come, my friends. There will be a “just around the corner” and a back-to-school for us, the moms of the littles, eventually. And when that day comes, we too will lay in the sun and rub our hands together in anticipation. But we will also think, for just a nanosecond, how fast it has all gone.

For now, let's settle for mentally knocking down just one more Crayola display.

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