What back-to-school really means

This year, the phrase back-to-school is completely different for me. It means I will have about two hours a day to do things alone. On Sept. 6, after I drop off my first-grader and my pre-schooler, I’m going to embark on some meaningful me time: I’m going to go to the bathroom alone.

Come on now, most of you parents know exactly what I mean. Literally, I will be able to close the door and do things in private that were meant to be in private-no little ones knocking, barging in or talking to me. Absolute privacy. And sure, I will also run errands, write, practice my music, volunteer at the school, get some much needed exercising, and maybe, just maybe, I will even take a day every now and then where I just relax at a local coffee shop, or do nothing.

In the beginning, back-to-school will also mean that I have to work through the sadness of knowing my babies are both in school now, even if it’s just for two and a half hours a day. I will miss my littlest one, but luckily have another two years before we totally give up our mama and me time. My oldest will just keep me saying “would you please stop growing?!” It’s sort of a joke in our family that we ask the kids to stop growing. They know they can’t, and we are reminded they can’t even more so at back-to-school time.

Our family values education and the back-to-school buzz will be in full-swing for us as we enjoy our final few weeks of summer hours. When you live in Chicago, and when you’re enrolled at a school that starts at 8 o’clock, you have to take advantage of the summer weather, extra daylight and relaxed mornings.

So as we close out our lazy days of summer, we will slowly move bedtime and wake time up, until we are on school hours for at least a week before the start. And our kids will get excited about ready-confetti and kinder-cones, but will mostly be happy to be getting back (or beginning) in the groove of school, learning and fun.

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