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Elementary school

parental survival tips, back-to-school, first day of school, nerves, moody judy

The first day back-to-school is today and yesterday my girls lost their minds. I never noticed this phenomenon before. Nerves are to be expected at back-to-school but full-on crazy was never part of the deal! Maybe it’s a tween thing or maybe I’m just noticing it but yesterday was the worst. Forget about my worries of avoiding the kindergarten hallway of death with mother’s strewn on the floor collapsed in puddles of snot and tears. Today, back-to-school can kiss my grits! Now, I know why all the parents in the 3rd-5th-grade hall just carry in paper goods like pack mules and never look back. No photos, no kisses or have a good day, just lots of knowing nods and exhaustion.

The tween has gone completely bipolar on me (and you know I don’t use this term lightly, takes one to know one and wow! She’s making my head spin) one second she’s smiling and hugging on me, cuddling in for dear life and the next, she is rolling her eyes so hard that I think she might have sprained something and crying, sobbing over boots that she begged for….that I bought. I thought that was a good thing. NO! I was dead freaking wrong because in tween brain that means I bought her stupid boots that she can’t even wear over her pants, with her skirts or until NOVEMBER! I’m such a horrible mom.

But she asked for them. Tough shit lady, you should have known better. Then she begins sobbing uncontrollably in the middle of the Target. As I’m ready to check out and on the cell phone with my sister, like one of those assholes who doesn’t give a shit about other people’s hearing space, talking her off a ledge about the details of her upcoming wedding, the 10-year-old is throwing a full-on tantrum because I’m not buying all of the volleyball shorts and athletic t-shirts.

Why am I being so evil? Because I don’t think its pertinent to buy these things when 1) she hasn’t made the team yet 2) we are still trying to figure out how she is going to fit 5 ballet classes, 2 robotics team meetings, violin, cheerleading practice and games and MAYBE volleyball into the schedule. Did I mention that 5th grade is a clusterf*ck? Be afraid, be very afraid. It’s the year of everything and ballet has decided that this is the year that my kid needs to decide to dedicate her life to it. She’s 10!!!!!! But more about that later.

The 8-year-old has been sneaking into my bed every night for the past 5 days under the guise of a “stomach ache” that mysteriously disappears the moment her head hits my pillow. It’s all  nerves induced by back-to-school. I give her this because I get it but it’s school, not war! And in the past week, I have gotten next to zero accomplished because of making all the moments of summer count and all that jazz. It’s like every year the week before back-to-school, my girls try to climb back into the womb and at 4’8″ and 5’1″, they just don’t fit anymore but that doesn’t stop them from trying.

Between my children going completely insane, recovering from travel and impending travel, planning a bridal shower, a bachelorette party, being the maid of honor, while squeezing in a press trip, deadlines and oh yeah, did I mention trying to coordinate the most insane extracurricular schedule ever…I am feeling less crying about missing my babies today and more hell, yeah, finally some quiet time to work…in my house…alone…without the white noise of constant girl bickering.

Don’t get me wrong, I left drop off this year, just like every year before, missing my little girls. But this year, we all need some quiet alone time. The years are rushing by at warp speed and we just need some time to decompress from all the excitement and growing up. It’s stressful but at the same time, it’s exciting for all of us.

back-to-school, first day of school, nerves, moody judy, parental survival tips

Is it wrong that I want to throw a one woman dance party followed by complete silence to celebrate back-to-school?

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Sandy Hook, Newtown shootings, Adam Lanza

Saturday was the anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre. I was backstage, watching from stage left as my daughters performed their final show. I wanted to be in as close proximity to my girls as possible. I half expected some deviant, somewhere to decide to commemorate the anniversary with his or her own massacre. This is who I have become since December 14, 2012. I am afraid and I can’t shake it. Sandy Hook changed my life. Saturday, my heart was heavy for the mothers and fathers of Sandy Hook. The air was so thick I could barely breathe.

In our world, shootings happen frequently, so much so that it is no longer shocking. A crazed gun man walks into a post office, a disgruntled employee walks into his place of business, a religious zealot walks into a church, a long gunman walks into a mall or a theater, a jilted lover walks into a house…this happens all over the place, all the time but Sandy Hook was different it hit many of us where we live. Adam Lanza made us all feel vulnerable in a place where we already walk around like an open wound to the world; our children. He stole the one place we felt comfortable and safe leaving our children away from us; school.

Every morning when I drop my girls off at school, I am afraid that it might be the last time that I ever see them. Every time I hear a siren, I call the school to make sure everything is all right. If the girls are in a bad mood in the morning and we argue, I always rectify it before dropping them at school. I always hug them goodbye and I always tell them that I love them because I am terrified that something might happen and it might be the last time that we see one another and I don’t want my last words to them to be mean ones. The events that transpired that cold Friday morning at Sandy Hook Elementary did that to me. I know life goes on but my trust in the world has been broken and I am not sure that it can ever be mended.

For the rest of my life, my heart will stop when I hear a siren if my children are not in my line of sight. For the rest of my life, I will watch my children until they are all the way in the building. For the rest of my life, I will remember that my children are the most precious gift that life has given me and I will not take them for granted. For the rest of my life, I will not trust the world to protect our children. That is what Adam Lanza and his shooting spree has done to our world.

Children are not disposable. Human beings are not replaceable. No one needs a gun. Gun violence needs to stop and we need to prevent something like Sandy Hook from ever happening again.No parent should ever have to wonder if this is the last time they will see their child alive at morning drop off. We should not have to live our lives in fear. If you believe that the right to bear arms is more important that the lives of 26 people than we probably can’t be friends. Please pray for peace for the mothers and fathers of the Sandy Hook victims.

How has your perspective on life changed since Sandy Hook?

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