October 1, 2015

Back-to-School Night Nightmares: They'll Haunt You for a Lifetime

One of the things I absolutely, wholeheartedly, don't miss is Back-to-School Night at my children's high school. The reasons are plentiful:

1. I had no idea where any of the classrooms were and we were being timed to get to them. The hallways were vast. Parents were like mice scrambling in a maze to get to their kid's class before the bell rang so that they wouldn't walk in late for the teacher's presentation. (Kudos to all of those who didn't panic between bells and landed that prized classroom real estate, a desk on the front row.)

2. The ringing bell reminded me of nightmares I've had where I'm late for class (made all the more horrifying that I didn't have my books because they were in my locker and I couldn't remember the combination ... oh, and I forgot to put pants on before going to school.) These haunted dreams stay with you for a lifetime.

3. In play school and elementary school, my children had playdates. I got to know the parents either through kids coming over to the house, my kids going over to their house, chatting in the parking lot at drop-off, or volunteering at Book Fair. It was all small-town before we landed at the big high school in the next town.

4. In high school, you might only meet your kids' friends' parents occasionally. At Back-to-School night, they are filling the halls. They'll say, "Hi, Bonni!" and for that awkward moment, I couldn't remember their names. Going blank when someone gives you a personalized salutation is psychologically damaging.

As parents across the nation panic at Back-to-School Night, I will be at home sipping wine ... and "fondly" reminiscing about that one night of every academic year. Each October, my kids handed me a map of the school a week in advance, and encouraged, "It's easy, Mom. You just go down this hall from the gym, make a left at the art room, go up the next stairwell on the right. If the stairwell on is your left, you've gone too far. At the top of the RIGHT stairwell is a science room. Cut a hard left and my social studies class will be right in front of you. It's room 8,431,538. I promise, you'll have no prob finding it."

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