Tis' the Night Before School Starts
Tis' the night before school starts
And inside our house
Everyone is in panic mode
Including my spouse.
And while backpacks are placed by the front door with care
(The same ones from last year, only mild wear and tear.)
The children are jumping on top of their beds.
"We're not tired!" They keep saying. "Let us stay up, instead!"
For all summer long, bed time ceased to exist.
As did schedules and alarm clocks, so now they resist.
And I in my jeans I haven't washed in two weeks
As their dad does the dishes and slurs when he speaks.
We are tired and are ready for summer to end
So we turn out the light. "IT IS BEDTIME, MY FRIENDS."
They say, "FINE!" and lie down but then giggles ensue.
And we try not to join them but what can we do?
So we laugh and we sing as their backs we are scratching.
We reminisce about summer and mourn that it's passing
Until pass out they finally do in a heap.
And beside them, soon after, we're also asleep.
When what in my slumbering sleep do I hear?
Something is beeping inside of my ear!
I wake up, contorted, my neck at an angle.
Beneath my kid's leg, our hairs all a tangle.
"The alarm!" Hal replies, as he pats on my cheek.
"Tis' time to wake up! First school day on fleek!"
Away to the bathroom I fly like a flash.
I turn on the light and put cream on my rash.
Early sun on the breast of the drought-retained lawn.
"You'll want to wear shorts, guys." I say to my spawn.
Then what to my sleep-deprived eyes do appear?
But the rest of our kids. (They are screaming. Oh, dear.)
More rapid than eagles, their breakfast I make.
As they tie up their shoes and my coffee I take.
With the clock ticking quickly and half of us dressed
I know we can do this. "We will ace this first test!"
"Now Archer, Now Fable, Now Revi and Bo..."
On, Daddy and Mommy, are we ready? Let's go!"
To the top of the porch, to the minivan, haul!
Now drive away! drive away! drive away, all!
As the leaf that before the wild hurricane knows
When we meet with a stoplight on our way to Melrose
So up t'ward the campus, our minivan flies.
All filled up with children, with hope in their eyes.
We park and we exit the car in one swoop.
We hold hands and cross the first street as a group.
We cross once again and once more until we...
Have arrived at the school. Twenty minutes early.
(They cannot believe it. And so I'm like, "See?")
They're dressed all in blue, their friends new and old.
And we hug them and ask for their backpacks to hold.
But, oh no, no thank you, "I've got it, Mom." (Sigh.)
"I don't need you to be here. You can go now. Goodbye."
But, no, we don't go. It just wouldn't feel right
Not to leave until they disappear out of sight.
And so we stand back, as all parents must do.
And we watch them peel off and find their who's who.
With friends new and old, they compare school supplies.
While the parents, we marvel at how the time flies...
Their eyes how they twinkle. Their faces, how merry.
Their cheeks flushed with jitters, 'cause nerves can feel scary.
A wink of her eye and a nod of his head
Soon give us to know we have nothing to dread.
They speak not a word but file into their rooms.
As we call o'er their shoulders, "we'll pick you up, soon!"
And as fast as it went, the time has now come
To head back towards home. And get all our work done.
And to all of you caretakers and the kids you hold dear.
"Happy Back-to-School to all and to all a good year."