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First Week of School
Read on Minnesota Public Radio, September 10, 2004
By Nanci Olesen

Okay we made it.

We have made it, we thinly smiling parents of preschoolers, gradeschoolers, highschoolers. We’ve made it through the beginning days of the school year. It has begun.

We have to be up early. We have to think clearly on school nights. Did everybody make their lunch? Who goes where when tomorrow? Who picks up who from what when? Who will be home when the youngest walks in the door?

My kids are 9, 10 and 14. Their shoes all fit, their new clothes look good enough, and I am the picture of stability as they march out the door in the morning. This school year I am going to get enough sleep and stay in good enough shape so that I don’t get ragged and mean spirited as I balance my own work day with their school day. I will fill the car with gas before the empty light comes on. I am going to turn permission slips in on time and make notes of who goes on what field trips when. I will support my son’s new life in high school but I won’t ask him too many questions, even though it totally freaks me out that I have a son in HIGH SCHOOL.

I will buy groceries at the beginning of every week so that dinners are wholesome, easy and economical. We will eat together and discuss our lives in a civilized manner. They will help with household tasks and their rooms will stay clean. They will get their homework done on time. My husband and I will have good communication about who goes where when so that we don’t build up walls of resentment that manifest themselves in biting little comments as we try to balance the needs of our coworkers, ourselves, and our children from day to day. We won’t have weekends filled with too many things so that we are running frantically from birthday parties to piano lessons to family gatherings.

These are the long and enthusiastic days of September, when everything seems possible. Last year at this time I put out a quote every day, written on an index card, at our kitchen table. “Nothing is ours except time” read one. “We have so little time, we must proceed very slowly.” That was Buddha. By October, I quit writing out quotes. I was just trying to keep up with everybody and everything. But you know this topic, this “I’m trying to stay balanced and not too busy topic?” It is the NUMBER ONE thing that the friends I have that are parents talk about. Like the very first sigh of the conversation is always... “well, we’re trying to do a few less things this year, and we’re all trying to stay balanced and I really want my kids to not feel frantic...”

So this year I’ll try again, without the quotes. I’m just gonna try to live it. I’m going to try to stay organized and kind and interested. I’m going to keep myself together and look people in the eye and have at it. I’m going to live in the present but keep track of what’s going on in the future.

I’m going to wish my kids and myself well every morning. Another school year. Here we go.

—Nanci Olesen
producer and host, MOMbo: 1990-2007

 

Nanci Olesen's commentaries that have aired on Minnesota Public Radio:

06 may 2005 • Mother's Day

17 dec 2004 • Santa Lucia

02 dec 2004 • Holiday Blues

10 sept 2004 • First Week of School

09 july 2004 • Cell Phones

10 march 2004 • Circus Food

Dad in Church

Nanci Olesen's commentaries that have been published in magazines:

May 2002 • Road Trip

Debate

Art Circle

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