Back to school. Feelings are mixed.

“Routine! Ohmygosh! It’s been so long! How’ve ya been? You look great! I’ve missed you!”

“6:30 a.m.  You seem well.”

And then, there’s the inevitable emotional angst: Rainbow started Kindergarten.

Moms, you know what I’m saying. Everyone else, imagine that you’re about to finish a really, really good book. You love this book so much, and you never want it to end, but you’ve got only a few more pages left. You’ve got no choice. You have to finish the book. You’re not gonna not finish the book. But you keep putting off those last few pages so that you can prolong the ecstasy of the experience. Because, really, what are you going to do next? What else is there in life that could be remotely as worthwhile? But then, you do it. You read those last few pages. And they’re amazing. They blow you away. And you cry and snivel, and you feel thankful, but really, you’re just empty as a pocket inside. And all you can do now is remember.

That’s what it feels like when your kid starts Kindergarten. Gross.

And Muffin started fourth grade. Don’t get me started on what that feels like. (That’s an excuse not to have to come with another really stellar analogy that makes me cry.)

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SchoolKids1

All this is a part of life. One of the many human devastations between birth and death.  But let’s talk for a moment about the daily grind, which is fairly traumatic in its own right.  Right, now things are good. Everyone’s fairly enthusiastic about getting up early, going to school, homework, PB&Js in the lunchbox, etc. In a few weeks, it’s gonna be the Pit of Despair up in here. Endless, monotonous drudgery/torture. I remember this from last year. And the year before that. And the one thing I dread beyond all else, is that once things lose their zest, I’m the one who has to crank out the day. I do this by becoming an absolute phsychobitch.

“Hurry up! EAT!”

“Teeth! Shoes!”

“Backpacks on the floor! You guys! Come on!”

“How many times do I have to say it?!!?”

“What are you doing?! You’re playing with Legos??

Things were so bad at the end of last school year, that I decided my top-priority summer project would be to streamline the entering/exiting process, thereby minimizing necessary nagging. As both a favor to my children (whom I love) and to myself (whom I still have a little respect for, believe it or not).  Naturally, I didn’t get to this project until the very last day of summer. Literally the day before school started. But I did it!

EntryWay1

We needed a convenient place for kids to hang up backpacks and jackets (convenient–as in, even opening up the coat closet door was too inconvenient for these people). And we needed a place to put shoes and gear that wasn’t the floor. The only problem was, the wall adjacent to the front door would look weird with hooks. It had randomly placed switches and the thermostat, and adding hooks would be too much. Interior designer me in a battle of wits with mom me. The solution came to me in a fit of desperate brilliance. Stripes! Big stripes that integrate the rando fixtures! A little blue tape, a little white paint, a few episodes of Seinfeld, and a generous ten minutes of help from Sodacracker, and my entry wall was looking decidedly more patriotic and less random. Then, I added the final ingredient. Spray painted hooks from Ikea that I had purchased a year ago when the entry crisis first presented itself.

EntryWay2

With hooks in place, a big old trunk to corral the shoes and gear, and groovy wall stripes that turn the act of entering my home into a real party, I am beginning to think that this year will be a smidgen less loud and chaotic, I might have to be a little less mean, and I might end the day a little less burdened by guilt and shame. The story reads a little better this way.

Tweaking my house so it has my back? Interior design is heroic work.