Mary Grace and Claire start school in 9 days.
I am a little nervous about having the two of them gone all day, when I've gotten so used to them being around all the time. I'm not really sure what I'm going to do with Jack. Erin will come, still, and we've signed up for a class on Fridays. That still leaves lots of hours every week to fill. I really wish the Parks & Rec brochure for fall would arrive. I've been watching the mail. Maybe we can find another class or two. Maybe we'll go to the gym. He's bigger now, and I wouldn't worry as much about the profoundly inadequate childcare as I did when he was a baby. It's only an hour, right?
This time of year I always get Grand Plans. I'm going to get up every morning at 7, get the girls on the bus at 8:30, go to the gym for an hour to work out and then take a shower while Jack is in the child care room. By Christmas I'll be a size 2, of course, because all this time I've just been waiting for the kids to go to school. Then Jack and I will come home, and after lunch he'll take a 2 hour nap, and I'll write my novel while doing laundry. I'll greet the girls at the door every afternoon with freshly baked cookies. We will sit down together every day and do their homework together, and I will provide enrichment activities that will enhance their educational experiences. I'll cook healthy dinners from scratch every night. I'll give them a bath every evening before reading them stories that will open their minds and fuel their imaginations. They'll be in bed at 8 pm nightly. I will go to bed at 9:30, 10 pm at the latest.
This will last for approximately 11 hours, and then it will all fall apart and I'll fall back into the same habits that I do every year. I'll spend too much time online. I'll go to bed late and sleep later. Chances are that BJ will be the one getting the kids ready for school. I'll roll out of bed in time to comb their hair and give them a goodbye kiss. If they get after school cookies, they'll be boxed - break and bake if I'm feeling really fancy. My gym card will continue to languish, untouched, at the bottom of my purse. Dinner will be frozen pizza, Hamburger Helper on special occasions. They'll continue to get baths two or three times a week. The laundry mountain will continue to grow.
But this time of year, it's hard to remember how deeply those habits are ingrained in me. This time of year is my favorite, because life is ripe with possibilities.