It’s the first day of the new school year in our little corner of Maryland, about two weeks later than usual, for some reason–normally, it seems we start around the 20th of August or so. I’m not sure what happened to the days when school started the week of Labor Day. Maybe that’s one of those memories that dates me, in the same way that I remember jungle gyms being built on huge pads of solid concrete that baked under the hot sun, so you could burn yourself if you tried to go barefoot, or break your arm if you fell off the monkey bars, instead of landing unhurt on that weird soft cushiony stuff they use these days that was actually found inside a meteor and does not exist naturally on this planet.
Wait, where was I?
Right. School starting. So, over the weekend, Barb and I ran down the laundry list of things you need to make sure your kid has before she heads out that first day. We also made a point of reviewing the morning schedule that we would be getting back to, now that summer is over and a 13-year-old’s day can no longer begin at 10:47 a.m.
Since . . . well, forever, really, I’ve been the one who wakes Madi up in the morning. That’s not to say that she doesn’t set her alarm. She does. And she shuts it off immediately and goes back to sleep, so I have to come in, flick on the light and announce that it is now 6:31, and the bus will be here in thirty minutes, and if the bus is missed, there is no way I am driving you to school, and I am not bluffing, I assure you, even though I am and she knows it.
And actually, she never misses the bus. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t sometimes make it exciting.
Anyway, this weekend, I tried to pull off another tremendous bluff, and announced that since Madi was now in eighth grade, I was through coming in and making sure she’s up. “I’ll alert you when it’s 6:50 and time to get ready for the bus, but that’s it,” I said, not too convincingly.
Well. Madi was up and about without any help. Turns out I failed to factor in one thing: mascara. As it turns out, it doesn’t matter how much or how little makeup you allow your teenage to wear, it will always take at least thirty minutes to apply. So they build in a Makeup Buffer. And, later, probably the hair buffer.
It’s not that I had forgotten that little fact; I had actually never known it. Because I have never been the parent of a teenager. And when the hell did that happen?