Let's face it. Back to school is painful. It's like hitching a mountain to a bungee cord and giving it a tug. As if you're going to move mountains with a rubber rope.
No, back to school requires more than just your run-of-the-mill tactics. It involves reprogramming your entire system to operate at an earlier hour.
Take the alarm clock, as an example. It is a simple device that one sets in order to rise at an appointed time. An inch-thick layer of dust masked the only one we own. The children stared at it warily. I approached it myself with great caution.
"Do you think the batteries are dead?" I heard my daughter whisper to her 5-year-old brother. I could sense the delicious swell of hope rise in her bosom as the alarm croaked a near-soundless tune.
"Add it to the list," I barked a sudden command. The children jolted. It was time to go shopping.
We filled our cart with back-to-school essentials: notebooks, pencils, erasers, crayons, and new socks. We rounded the corner to the electronics section. Suddenly, my children scattered to the four winds in pursuit of the next toy they wanted.
I stood alone in the aisle, pining for the simpler days of summer, straining to hear the tumble of the ocean floor as it upheaved itself against the shore.
Only the squeak of the shopping cart as I tumbled backward into a display of CDs. Bleary-eyed from our new routine, I pulled the children away from the toy section in time to remember the batteries. And a box of tissues for us all to mop up the disappointment of another summer ending too soon.
Christine is an American author and freelance writer living near Munich, Germany, with her husband and two children (Jackson, 4 and Sophia, 6).