Do you know what I LOVE about school days? It’s not the getting up early. Just ask my husband. He occasionally (and by occasionally I mean almost every day), has to drag me out of bed by my feet as I cling and claw at the blankets yelling, “No, no, just ten more minutes!!” So, no, not that.

It’s not the structure. I ADORE unstructured time. Unstructured days are like unopened gifts, filled with possibility, hope and surprises.

What I love about school mornings is:

  1. I* make ONE breakfast, served to everyone within about 1/2 hours time.
  2. I* pack four lunches: sandwich or yogurt, salty, sweet, fruit/vegetable.
  3. I say, “Stop touching your brother. Stop. Stop! STOP! I SAID STOP!!!” and “No I don’t know where your library book is.” and “Stop chasing the dog.” and “No you may not wear shorts today. I don’t care if you wear long socks. I said no. It’s thirty degrees out for goodness sake. Get a coat. Okay fine, get a sweatshirt.” and “Did you make your bed? Brush your teeth? Do you have your lunch box?” and “I don’t know where your shoes are because I don’t wear them!” Even though I know precisely where they are. I say those things about half a dozen times on a good day. And, in fairness… I don’t love this part. But, then…

DONE FOR THE ENTIRE DAY!!!

There are no special orders. No high expectations of me whipping up a hot lunch. No grazing through the pantry and leaving out cups & dishes & crumbs. No one asking me to cut up an apple. No one whining that we have “nothing good in this house to eat!” No one coming downstairs an hour after I’ve served breakfast and asking, “What’s for breakfast?” There are no Lucky Charms on my carpet. No pretzels either. I wipe down the counters, load up the dishwasher, & I know with total certainty that everything will stay exactly how I left it.

I kiss the kiddos goodbye. Sometimes I have to chase my teenage son to the door and spider monkey him for a quick kiss; but mostly he knows it’s better to submit willingly. You’re welcome future daughter-in-law.

And then… wait for it… wait for it…

What follows is so much better than a moment of silence in an otherwise boisterous, loud Irish household. I literally can hear the voices of angels… or the voices in my head. Whatever, it’s beautiful.

This calm serenity lasts until about 3:15pm CENTRAL. At which point children begin trickling back into the house performing some kind of child strip tease that leaves a trail of shoes, socks, coats, backpacks, homework papers, one thousand field trip forms, 200 picture order forms and various things from the school prize box littered across the entire first floor. I get a quick hug and a kiss and then, “What’s for snack?”

But that is okay… because absence makes the heart grow fonder. Plus I didn’t have to share my lunch. I went to the bathroom without anyone having a desperate emergency at that very minute. I exercised, and it’s quite likely that I also had an uninterrupted phone call. So, I’m ready.

And once again, I hear the voices of angels. Angels wrestling. Angels chewing with their mouth open. Angels fighting over the TV remote. Angels telling me, “I did enough reading in school and so I should just be allowed to go out and play!” Angels yelling “MOM! MOM! MOM!”

My angels need A LOT of work on their celestial singing, but they have time to learn. Meanwhile… bed time is only a couple of hours away. And bed time has ALWAYS been my favorite time of day…

Post Script: Ok… so I wrote this blog & then went out to find a picture of a typical school morning scene. I have been searching now FOR 20 MINUTES. All the breakfast scenes look like something out of, “Leave it to Beaver.” Everyone smiling and eating bananas and like oatmeal or whatever. No Cocoa Puffs. No granola bars. No frozen waffles. AND GUESS WHAT ELSE? They are ALL dressed! Not just dressed, but hair done, make up on and looking like they stepped out of a fashion magazine. I found no moms or dads with bed head, a robe & their Uggs thrown on. And, yes, that is EXACTLY how I serve breakfast and occasionally (refer to definition of occasionally above), how I drop kids off at school, (and it’s none of your business if I don’t have pants on. It’s a long robe y’all). 

So I decided to search, “packing school lunches.” All the lunches look like a fucking Pottery Barn picture… sectioned off areas with star shaped sandwiches & veggies and wheat rolls. Some even have a sweet little NOTE in them, (yeah… I was that mom for LIKE FIVE MINUTES once upon a time). WTF?? And the kids are SMILING about those lunches. The moms & dads are smiling too. At least I can understand that. YOU MY FRIENDS ARE ABOUT TO HEAR ANGELS SINGING! I got you. But I call bull shit on the rest.

So you get a school bus my lovelies and high five for frozen waffles & PBJ. And of course, the sound of angels.

*I actually means my husband… 67% of the days, (making breakfast, lunch or occasionally both – refer to definition of “occasionally” above). God bless his soul.