I love new school supplies. I mean, to a ridiculous degree. I am one of those academic geeks who gets sadly excited by a clean fresh pack of loose leaf or a box of new crayons with the tips not yet blunted or broken. September is the real New Year, no doubt about it, and bringing home the kids’ school supplies the other day made me ridiculously happy and excited.
There’s so much possibility and potential in a brand-new exercise book, a brand-new school year. I’ve been either a student or a teacher for most of the Septembers of my life and I can never quite shake that back-to-school excitement. I enjoyed a break from the rhythm of the academic calendar for several years while I stayed home with small children; I liked the fact that Labour Day had no special meaning and back-to-school fliers were something to ignore. But last year, with Emma off to Kindergarten, the combination of the right time in my life and the perfect job offer sent me back to school. This year, I’m as excited as Emma is (and far more excited than jaded third-grader Christopher) about the start of a new school year.
The last week before school starts is a busy time for both parents and teachers; an extra-busy time if you’re both (even more so if you’ve somehow decided you need to paint a mural on your office wall before school starts, but that’s a whole other thing). This past week has been a whirlwind of efficiency at our house. I am so pleased and self-satisfied it would make you sick to be around me. In the last week I have gutted both children’s rooms down to the bone, throwing out pounds and pounds of clutter, consigning numerous toys and clothes to be passed on, given away or handed down, and relocating a number of toys to a basement toy box that Jason has taken to calling “Toygatory” (because it’s the last stop before they’re condemned to be given/thrown away). This has left their rooms much tidier and their closets stocked only with clothes that can be worn to school. On Thursday I made a run to the secondhand store with a vanload of giveaways (including things that had belonged to Jason’s dad which needed to be cleared out, and lots of extraneous stuff from Jason’s and my closets), and another run to the recycling depot to clear all the plastic water bottles and old cardboard boxes out of the basement. Every day this week has ended with me checking dozens of items off my to-do list. I am positively glowing with virtue. Don’t get too close unless you want some of it to rub off.
To be fair, I must confess that I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and if I’m going to have a week of such extreme efficiency and accomplishment, a certain number of things are going to have to drop out of my brain to make room. Thus, amidst all these wonderful works, I have also had moments of stunning forgetfulness, which have included:
1) Bringing Emma to her swimming lesson without her swimsuit.
2) Bringing Emma to her swimming lesson wearing her swimsuit, but without any underwear to change into afterwards (this was obviously on a different day from #1)
3) Forgetting to change the setting on the breadmaker so that one morning we woke up to a lovely fresh pan of … warm dough.
4) Forgetting to let the dog back in the house during a torrential downfall, consigning him to four hours outside in the rain.
Despite these momentary lapses I am still a little sore from reaching around to pat myself on the back. If my energy and enthusiasm start to lapse, all I have to do is reach into the bags of school supplies, break open the loose leaf and take a good long whiff of that clean-paper smell … and I’m good to go for a few more hours!