It seems the inevitable has arrived.
I feel like I just wrote my last Publisher’s Note, refusing to accept August as back-to-school month. But here we are in September, and there is no more putting off the return to school… not legally anyway (I had no idea truancy was an actual punishable offense until a teacher friend told me tales of parents being summoned to court for not sending their kids to school often enough.).
The boys and I had a fabulous summer, the measurement of which seemed to be directly related to the number of mosquito bites garnered and the blackness of the feet at the end of any given day. We are not an extravagant family by any means, but we had our own kind of fun with beach trips and birthday celebrations and visits with aunts and uncles and cousins, and ten whole days at my mom’s house, the longest I’d spent in my tiny hometown on Maryland’s Eastern Shore since moving from there in the fifth grade. The boys let me ramble on about all of my childhood memories as I drove them by the house I lived in, the school I went to and the little corner store where I used to buy candy for a penny a piece (that made me sound really old – if memory serves, they were just Tootsie Rolls and Mary Janes, nothing large!). We made new memories there together, skipping stones across the river, searching the beach for treasures, and golfing across the yard with my oldest sister, their Aunt Micki. There is much to be said for taking some time away from the hustle and bustle of one’s own home and letting Mom fix your tea each morning along with her own, having her read the bedtime stories to the boys for a change of pace, and generally getting away from it all under a mother’s wing.
And while many of the women in the free world were spending their summer fifty shades of aroused, astonished, and fabulously appalled by the latest piece of pop culture chick lit, I spent mine with a completely different group of women: Meg, Beth, Jo, and Amy. That’s right, it has taken me this long to read Little Women, and it took me most of the summer to get through it. I’m sad to admit that I have never made the time to become well-read, and although I was a good student, much of my required reading was done in the form of CliffsNotes (genius invention, if I do say so myself!). The character development in Little Women is surely second to none, and while the first half seemed to take a while to get through, I quickly finished it up to see how each of the March girls would wind up (even though a certain episode of Friends spoiled a bit of it for me). It is fun to imagine what it would be like to live back then, parts of it seeming so much simpler and others seeming so much harder (I could no sooner wear all of those clothes and bonnets each day as I could fly to the moon!). But oh how I long to be a glimmer of the guiding light to my children that Mrs. March was to those girls!
As a new school year begins, be a shining example to your kids and let them see you reading. It might be a book that needs to be locked up when you’re not reading it, or it might be a classic you never got around to or one worth reading again, but no matter the topic and no matter the medium, take the time to enjoy a good book. Once you’re finished with this issue of RFM, that is!