I think it's safe to say everyone in the area is back in school. Parents everywhere rejoice. Kids everywhere weep. Parents everywhere toss over one of the 18 boxes of tissues they had to buy to wipe their kid's tears. Parents continue rejoicing.

I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am that my boys are back in school. The reasons are endless, but I'll try to narrow it down to my "Top Five." Here goes:

1. Oh germs, how I've missed you. Within three days of school starting, my house has been plagued with the comforting snorts, sniffs, and coughs we all know and love and sadly had to sacrifice for the last 10 weeks. I'm going to suggest an addendum to the school supply list to indicate the need for all the extra tissues you'll need at home once the snot factory goes back into production.

2. Fundraisers! It's been a long, hard summer without coupon books, cookie dough, wrapping paper, trash bags, and spending $60 for a foam rocket or a slap bracelet. I am not sure how I survived, but thankfully they wasted no time, and by day two I had an opportunity to spend a lot of money on something I don't need, will never use, and eventually throw away.

3. It had been almost an entire year since I've bought enough glue sticks to wallpaper the earth. I was having bad dreams about my children showing up to school with a measly four or six glue sticks and getting paddled or shipped off to Guantanamo or a home for sad, glue-stickless children. We are safe now, and I've successfully sent an Elmer heir to grad school once again.

4. I haven't been spending nearly enough time chilling in my car. Fortunately, school has started and I have endless hours to spend quality time with my practical vehicle in a sea of practical vehicles waiting for the kiddies to get out of school. My oldest son rode the bus home from elementary school, but due to scheduling issues I'm doing the afternoon car-rider thing for my youngest, and I wasn't aware, but apparently arriving at the time school actually gets out is considered some form of abuse. I'm convinced that some of these parents simply circle the building after drop-off in the morning so they can be at the beginning of the line for pick-up.

5. I don't know about you, but the leisure of summer was really getting to me. Having nowhere to be at 6:45 a.m.? What kind of life is that? I live for tight schedules and having at least four back-to-back activities every Saturday and most weeknights, too. Whoever thought recreational sports and practices should start at the exact same time as school starts is a genius and I'd like to personally give you a big thank you and invite you over for a nice dinner. We can make room for you in the car; I hope you like chicken nuggets on the way to soccer practice while we go over spelling words.

6. Last but not least -- my favorite -- homework! The angels sing and the trumpets blare at my reunion with homework! There's nothing I love more than sitting at the kitchen table with my boy, discussing and debating assignments. And by "discussing" and "debating," I mean "shouting," "eye-rolling," "storming off," and "crying," but there's no need to sound negative. Still, I think it's important to share this range of emotions with your children. It only brings you closer.

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