Time's growing short before school starts, and in the halls of administration, tempers are growing short, too. Stuff that should have been done weeks ago hasn't gotten done, and everyone's more interested in talking about whose fault it is than figuring out how to fix it. Finding out how the sausage is made isn't all it's cracked up to be.
But luckily I still get to bask in the blissful naivete of the other side of the fence when I put my kids in somebody else's school. No doubt there are just as many administrative headaches -- probably a lot more, considering the number of fingers in the pot and the relative transparency to taxpayers -- but they're largely invisible to me. I just show up with my children on the appointed day, and there are teachers ready to teach them, desks for them to sit at, schedules that tell them when to go to music and art and P.E.
Archer goes to his orientation evening for first grade tomorrow evening. In a telling reminder of the sludgy bureaucracy that's he's become a part of, we got a postcard today -- just like before the kindergarten orientation event last year -- addressed to "Archur Murray." Somewhere in the school records, that "u" resists eradication; even though his kindergarten teacher corrected it in her classroom, it persists deep in the bowels of the system.
Last year on the first day of school, parents of kindergarteners got to take their little darlings to the classroom personally and kiss them goodbye, then retire to the cafeteria for special refreshments and complimentary souvenir mini-packets of Kleenex. This year, parents of first-graders drive up to the door, shove their kids out of the car, and peel out like Michael Andretti. It's all supposed to be routine at this point. I know Noel can't wait to have someone else in charge of Archer every weekday (and a different someone else in charge of Cady Gray Monday and Wednesday mornings), and there's no doubt we'll get used to it very quickly. But it's amazing how fast "so great to get away from the kids" becomes "man, I miss the kids."
Next summer, I swear we're going to test that theory with a parents-only vacation. Nothing makes your children's smiles brighter and their voices sweeter than a little time away. And I speak as someone whose children's smiles are clinically proven to be 30% brighter than the national average.