Yesterday was the first day of the new school year for all the kids in the household. We'd spent some time getting ready for this important day: buying school supplies, getting haircuts for the two boys who are willing to get haircuts, figuring out schedules for various music lessons, carefully orchestrating an after school plan that involves With-a-Why and a neighbor girl, and coming up with new household rules about bedtimes and such. Things seemed more chaotic than usual because the most efficient and organized person in the household, my Beautiful Smart Wonderful Daughter, had already gone back to college.
Everyone started the year tired and cranky because all three boys spent a couple late nights doing the homework they had had all summer to do. "It's a tradition not to start the summer homework until Labor Day," Boy in Black explained. And Shaggy Hair Boy missed the high school orientation he was supposed to go to. Skater Boy, PrettySingingCrushGirl, and Blonde Niece somehow all knew about it and attended, but he found out after the fact. Boy in Black assured me that he would give his brother the necessary tour of the high school.
The new bedtimes did not work out so great because none of my boys were tired. We have had such a hot humid summer that they've become nocturnal. After a summer of staying up late most nights to play poker or monster, no one was able to fall asleep at a decent hour, and the alarm clock was not a welcome sound.
Spouse, who is in charge of the morning routine, managed to get all the inert bodies moving and feed everyone breakfast. Shaggy Hair Boy was just about to head out the door with his backpack, carefully filled with new school supplies, when he noticed that one of our aging cats had peed on the backpack. Yes, that is what every fourteen-year-old boy wants to bring to school on the first day: a backpack that reeks of cat urine. Shaggy Hair's response was to scream in disgust, toss the backpack into the backyard, and head to school empty-handed.
It turns out that the elementary school that With-a-Why goes to did not have a full day yesterday, as we had thought. Instead, school was dismissed at 10:30 am. The new principal, who is apparently crazy, thought this would be a good idea. Apparently something had come home in the mail announcing this, but mail gets lost easily in our busy household. I was in class when With-a-Why called but luckily he was able to reach my husband, who picked him up and dropped him off at his grandmother's house, where he spent the day beating his grandparents at Scrabble.
When we gathered for supper at the end of the day, everyone seemed satisfied with how the day had gone. Shaggy Hair Boy is in several classes with PrettySingingCrushGirl. Boy in Black will get to take both Physics and Calculus this year, two classes he will love. And With-a-Why had an unexpected treat: instead of school, a fun day with his grandparents.
The only thing that wasn't perfect is that we all missed Daughter. She wasn't here to make lists of all the school supplies we need and to organize the necessary trip to the store. She wasn't here to tell funny stories of schedule changes or fill us in on which kids were in her classes. Mostly, we missed her personality, all that positive energy that rubs off on all of us. So we had to settle for phone calls to her cell phone instead.