The mood was somber.
Two pairs of eyes woke up glowering at me beneath furrowed brows, as if the blame for the end of summer fell squarely on my shoulders.
Where was their father's culpability in all this?
But of course if it weren't for my civilizing influence, they all four would turn feral.
I blamed the same scapegoat parents have blamed since time immemorial: "If you don't go to school, the truant officer will come arrest you."
And they gave it as much credence as children have since time immoral.
I thought some words ("Why can't you be more like your brother?" who has never complained about school since he was four years old, and who has gotten up and gotten ready to go since second grade) and said some words ("You're big boys now, not babies, and I expect you to get up and get ready for school without all this nonsense!").
Outside, the fog reflected the mood inside. A mourning dove played the soundtrack to the melancholy morning.
Maybe it is all my fault. Not the end of summer, but the bad attitude. I always feel like school starts just as the kids have hit their stride, when they're being their most creative selves--E and Z's Pokemon obsession turning into making their own Tom Lighthouse's World trading cards, M churning out a new song every day--just in time to squelch them into little automatons. The "back to school" fliers in July depress me as much as if I were the one going back to school. Friday I made a half-hearted trip to Target for a few notebooks, glue sticks, and a planner (of which they were wiped out). Over the weekend, I sharpened last year's colored pencils (no sense in buying new ones when these are barely used, other than the red and black ones) until my thumb blistered and sewed a patch on M's second-hand backpack over the pink "CM" monogram (which, coincidentally, is his initials in reverse, if one choose to ignore the first half of his hyphenated last name). When the weather turns in a few weeks, I'll dig out the hand-me-down bins, buy a few pairs of jeans, some wool socks. Summer sneakers should last until boot weather.
As always, I missed that "getting on the bus" shot. But they did it, with no shoving, no further threats of truant officers. And they came home with reports of "good" when asked about their day, their moods considerably improved.
I'd still like to leave them to their own devices for a whole year, see what they come up with, but that's not really in the cards right now, and I think they'll survive another year of school