The lotus blooms in mud, or something.

The long weekend is here, and then the kids start back at school on Tuesday. I seem to have reached a grizzled, jaded stage of motherhood where the cheerful articles about back to school and lunch making and activities make me smile ruefully. I mean, I was there once. At one point I was weighing the difference between having the kids go to a community school or a charter one, I was looking into the differences between traditional learning programs and Montessori. I spent countless hours wondering about the learning opportunities at the various preschools available to me and I even found myself on a frigid February morning in the parking lot hours before registration started, so that I could get the time slot I wanted. And now I just find myself impotently enraged about the 65 minute difference in start times between the boys’ schools, because damn, that is going to be inconvenient.

In other words, I’m shaking my liver-spotted fist, pulling on my sweatshirt that has baskets of flowers embroidered on it, and telling those damn kids to get off my lawn and stop playing that loud music. The next step is accusing the nurses of stealing my non-existent money, while wearing polyester pull-on pants that belong to someone else.

God bless you people, looking up school lunch ideas on Pinterest, and skewering tiny pieces of sandwiches with bamboo sticks, and making happy faces and cheese cut-outs with cookie cutters. I missed my window of opportunity to do such things; at this point in my life I am at peace with the fact that this is something I was never meant to do, and also I think my junior high student would possibly die of embarrassment if he opened his lunch to a sushi-rice sculpture in the shape of Chewbacca.

Remember the old days when we would eat lunch at school, and it would be a bologna sandwich, an apple, a juice box, and a cookie? Our mothers certainly didn’t spend any time wondering if that was “too boring” or “not varied enough.” Eat it or go hungry seemed to be the motto of the Eighties, and honestly, it’s not a bad motto. Hell, my kids have come home for lunch practically every day of their school lives, and they have eaten peanut butter bagels for each and every one of those days, so I’m not really concerned about them “being bored” with their lunches. Come to think of it, I eat the same exact lunch every day of the week, so maybe it’s a genetic thing. Maybe we are just a very boring people. I am okay with that.

A few days ago, I took the boys and some friends to the swimming pool – along with, apparently, the rest of the city – and the kids spent the entire time not being anywhere near me. They literally checked in only to retrieve their money for the snack bar, then wandered as far away as possible to eat said snacks. I’m not complaining, mind you. It was a nice opportunity to read a book on a beautiful day, and I had some sympathetic smiles for the moms who were more in demand than I was, rushing around on the deck and in the pool.

We had a lovely dinner, several weeks ago, with some old friends. My friend and I were reminiscing about us both being pregnant, at a fancy dinner downtown with my old boss and an older colleague. They had lovely houses, older children, and went on wonderful vacations, whereas we younger people were just starting out, in small apartments and un-renovated older houses. My friend (HI VALERIE) said, and I agreed wholeheartedly, “But I wasn’t unhappy then, in our little apartment. I guess it’s just all about being happy where you are.” That stuck with me, and it occurs to me that it is the key. Being happy where you are. Or, perhaps, blooming where you are planted.

And so I was thinking about this, as my “Facebook memories” keep showing me adorable photos of my kids in coordinating golf shirts for the first day of school, with their backpacks that are huge and round faces. Everything’s changing, but I’m happy where I am. I hope you are too.


  1. Sometimes I manage this, but not always.

  2. I was just talking to two other moms the other day both of whom have kids the age of Oldest (8th grade) and Youngest (2nd grade) and we all agreed that we’re tired and kind of over elementary school. Interestingly, Youngest’s close friends are all younger siblings, some with much older siblings. It’s like they self-sorted into a group of kids whose parents are perhaps a little more tired but also less worried about elementary school 😉 I guess it’s not very surprising since I seem to have little in common with the much younger moms of kids Youngest’s age whose 2nd grader is their oldest and they are deeply concerned about things like rec soccer, 10 minutes of homework, and lunch. I mean I remember being that person, but now with the perspective of having an much older kid I know how little most of those things really matter in the long run. It’s freeing not to worry about it with Youngest.

    The parents of younger kids think I must be saddened by Oldest being a teenager but I’m not because, frankly, it’s kind of great to have an independent kid. Also I’ve read more books this summer since Youngest learned to swim so I no longer have to be in the pool with her than I’ve read since I was on maternity leave with Oldest. Look at me, catching up on the books of the last 13 years 😉

  3. I love this so much. Yes! Wildflowers don’t care where they grow. 🙂 We could all learn a lot from wildflowers.

Leave a Reply