A new school year

Last Thursday my daughter’s went back to school. I know many of you who are reading this will think “wow my kids went back to school weeks ago,” which I have to tell you I have a problem with. When I was a kid we never went back to school before September and honestly if you do it’s Un-American. You should write your congressmen immediately if you do not start school in September and end in June. It is just the way it is and always should be.

But I digress……..

Having my girls go back to school naturally makes me think of those times when I was a kid. My girls are a lot different than I was. While they got excited and couldn’t wait for the new school year I dreaded it. I mean physically dreaded it, I remember starting to get sad in August because I know summer break only had a month or so to go. The week before school started was absolutely the worse, I would stay up late at night because I knew next week I would have to go to bed early.

It wasn’t even that the summer meant vacation and visiting my relatives, I loved all that but I just really, really hated school. Honestly it wasn’t until I went to college that I actually enjoyed going to school and learning. I’m sure a lot of that had to do with the fact in college I could actually choose classes that interested me. This isn’t the type of attitude I would suggest, my hatred of school made me a horrible student which ironically lead to me having to go to summer school after my Freshmen and Sophomore years.

I really envy my girls love of school and wish I had it. Most will think while reading this that at a young age I must have loved school, because most kids do initially and then eventually develop their loathing. But I can honestly and truly say I never, ever liked school. My girls never had to endure the sadness I had to as the summer wound down.

One thing that contributes to the girls looking forward to school is that it gives them a break from each other. To paraphrase my youngest Olivia when during one moment of frustration with her sisters “We are spending too much time together.” During the summer the girls are around each other all day, they don’t have that break from each other that school provides. Siblings will normally wear on each other, during the summer it is even worse and intensified.

There is something still a bit sad about the beginning of the school year. It means my girls are getting old. Julia is in 5th grade, Mia 3rd and Olivia Kindergarten. Sure birthdays mark their age, but them advancing to another grade reminds me that my time with them is really short. There will be a September one day when Julia and Mia will be in college and Olivia will be at the end of her high school years. It seems like even as I get older I still hate the new school year.

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Cleanliness is next to godliness

I have to admit I was pretty naive on things when it came to raising girls. One pre-conceived notion I had about girls was put to rest pretty quickly. I was always under the impression girls were neat and tidy. Growing up as a boy and with two brothers I knew most men were slobs. My room was filled with clothes, comic books and toys. My bed was never made and my concept of cleaning was to just shove things places.

Most of my friend’s rooms were pretty much the same as mine. That didn’t change much with age either as the older we all got our rooms at home or their college dorms did not do anything alter my opinion. My experiences with girls however were the exact opposite. In school girls lockers were always very organized and well decorated while I had to dig through my locker to find the books I was looking for.

Any time I was in a girl’s room it was always clean and immaculate. And I would know because most of the time I was in there the lights always stayed on and unfortunately I usually wasn’t doing anything to distract me from noticing their rooms. Getting married allowed me to continue my assumptions. While I was still a bit of a slob my wife was ordered and structured.

When having three daughters I knew there was a lot I had to be worried about, one thing, however I didn’t anticipate were them being absolute slobs. Their rooms are messy and disorganized in biblical proportions. My once long held stereotype of the organized, clean and tidy girl was thrown out the window.

As I have gotten older I have come to appreciate being neat and at least a little organized. I’m not anal about it but I can appreciate being able to see my bedroom floor. Many nights I make my daughters kiss me good night in the living room because going to tuck them into bed only makes my blood boil. The worse part if these girls have given up many a weekend day dedicated to cleaning their rooms. Sure if they actually just got to it and did it they would be done in an hour or two. But, they drag it out to an all-day event.

What is most maddening is the fact they can sacrifice the better part of a weekend to cleaning their room and then two days later it is a train wreck again, it might have actually gotten worse. If they ever by some act of God kept their room clean for a full week I think I might die from shock. I don’t know what to do, am I paying for the sins of my youth? To hark back to a previous blog is this part of the “get three just like you” curse? How do I break it? Apologize to my Mom?

The best I can hope for is that they grow out of it and turn into those organized and clean girls I grew up knowing. That they will realize that leaving their things where they last used them isn’t the best idea. I’m not holding my breath right now though, I’m thinking I have years of rooms with no floors, stuff littered in the hall and me serving a penance for never keeping my room straight.