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Looking for keys to the first day of school

Today is the last day of summer break. It’s the last morning (for a very long while, unless you count weekends) that I’ll tiptoe around my house to let a late-night TV-watching teen sleep.

Tomorrow, a series of strategically timed and placed alarms will sound.
A clock radio, an iPod, and a cell phone will chime at five-minute intervals, beginning at 6:00 a.m. At precisely 6:20, I’ll tap on her bedroom door.

My knock will be answered by rustling sheets and a groan. “Stop! I’m up!” the still-drowsy one will murmur.

Finally, the slumbering creature, who has existed as a nocturnal being for the past 12 weeks, will rub her eyes and emerge from her cave.

At first, she’ll grumble and growl.

Then she’ll flick past the cutoff jeans and strappy tanks in her closet, choosing a trendy tee and a crisp new pair of skinny jeans. She’ll gulp half a glass of orange juice and crunch a few bites of bagel or toast. She'll pick up her pack and head for the door.

And she’ll be off to start another year of high school.

Wait! That’s not exactly how it will go.

I think I’ve left out a critical part of the school start scenario, at least in our home.

Nope, there won’t be “First Day of School” photos, unless I’m quick-on-the-draw with my cell phone.

But another ritual will begin, and it’s likely to be a daily one.

The dialogue will go something like this.

“Hey, Mom. Do you have a lot of articles to write today?”

“I surely do.”

“Aww. Are you gonna be stuck at your computer all day long?”

“Pretty much. I’ll do a few miles this morning and then hit the keyboard.”

“Does that mean you won’t need your car today?”

“Well . . . “

You got the drill. That’s the life of a freelancing parent. And this kid’s a quick study. She knows full well how I’ve let some of my daily and weekly news beats slide a bit during the delightfully less structured days of summer.

She knows I need to buckle down and crank out some work. And she’ll work it for sure.

Gotta love her!

She’s witty and clever and on-the-ball. And she’s a great little driver. Heck, she’s driven bikes and boats (see photo at left), tricycles and trucks, Jeeps and jet skis. She’s ready!

Here’s to another school year and a kid who’s ready to tackle the world … with or without Mom’s car.

Photos by Nickers and Ink
All rights reserved.


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