Staples has forever earned me as a loyal customer, since that first commercial with the father dancing down the school supplies aisle to the theme music, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” I said, now there is a marketing rep who knows their customer base.
When my four children return to school, it is quite a momentous occasion for me. Anticipating it lifts my mood further with each passing week of August. Like most things in life, the anticipation can be better than the reality. I felt slightly blue yesterday morning when I realized dd#3’s toothless grin would not be popping into my peripheral vision at any point for the next six hours.
After 16.5 years of full-time motherhood, last August I felt the peace and pleasure of time to myself, when my last child entered the school doors for a full-day of book learning. I was giddy with excitement, didn’t know what or where to celebrate first. It was the color of blue so pale it looks white until you hold it up to the true white. Just a hint of blue, as I realized I’d never return to the preschooler days. Mostly, it was glorious.
This year, after a full-year of sanity-saving solitude, mental health-inducing quietude, and mind-centering hours of privacy each week, I feel slightly more blue.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still feeling the glories. The glories of a cup of tea with only the dog to watch me sip and nibble and contemplate. The glories of straightening a room and it staying that way for SIX full hours, an unbelievable feat of domesticity during prior years. The glories of writing for days at a time, taking up my dream I’ve had on hold for so many years of writing a novel, learning and growing in this occupation I’m trying to adopt. Many more glories than not.
But this August I feel a slightly darker blue. Maybe the blue of a pale sheer curtain, blowing against a sunny window. An almost imperceptible increase in the saturation level of the blue. Because the more time you spend away from your children, the better you can appreciate them. I feel like repeating that one. I look at my daughter and think wouldn’t it be great if she was my only child. If I could have all four children, but raise them each one at a time. Because individually they are gifted, loving, creative, funny, wise and my baby.
So this time, the celebration was a little shorter, and I had a visioin of future Augusts, as each year, my glorious feelings ever-so-slightly dim, and my blue feelings gradually deepen to sky, then royal, then somewhere down the line, a cobalt blue. Having time alone maybe won’t be the glorious high it is today.
But for today, I’m still celebrating. And I’m writing again. My office is cleaned up, my desk reorganized, my files all filed. I am ready to start on another nine-month odyssey as I delve further into my second novel. Nine months that is, until summer, and the four children, return to the center of my universe.