Wednesday, September 2, 2015

How the First Day of School Is Just Like a Caribbean Cruise

The first day of school is always surreal. You look forward to it, you worry about it, your kids are nervous and excited and anxious and most definitely bouncing off the walls.

As I search for the right words to describe it, it occurs to me that maybe an analogy would say it best. Here are 10 ways the first day of school is like a Caribbean cruise.

How the First Day of School Is Just Like a Caribbean Cruise -- The kids' first day back at school is, for parents, surreal. It's magical, nerve-wracking, exciting, and well... just like a cruise to the Caribbean.

  1. You can NOT be late. Whether it's a cruise ship or a school bus, I can't stress enough that it will not wait for you if you're not there at departure time. Not even if you slip the driver a $20 beforehand. I haven't tried that, I'm just guessing.
  2. Nobody listens to the safety speech. Cruises always start out by telling you what to do in the event of an emergency, but does anyone pay attention? Just about as well as your kids listen to your parting instructions: "Have fun. Remember to include people and listen to your teacher. Don't forget to pick up your lunchbox if you set it down on the bus. And make sure you..."
  3. A full docket of activities. You can get pretty worn-out from all the onboard entertainment on a cruise (think Broadway musicals, comedy shows, and salsa dancing classes,) but that's child's play compared to the start of fall extra-curriculars. Prepare for life to become a long, unbroken string of shuttling kids to and from practices, lessons, games, clubs, or friends' houses. For the next 9 months, I'll only be leaving my minivan to go to the bathroom.
  4. You can eat literally whatever you want. If you've been on a cruise (which is basically a buffet with a rudder) and could fit into your pants by Day 7, I salute you. It's a lot like how, after the school bus pulls away with the kids, it's just you, all the secret junk food in the house, and 8 uninterrupted hours. No one's going to judge you for eating cookie dough ice cream right out of the container on the living room sofa at 11:30AM. I think you get where this is going.
  5. Time and space to work out. My intention when the kids go to school is to start exercising every day. But it's kind of like checking out the gym amenities on a cruise ship when you arrive: my first thought is "Wow! I can work out for an hour every day!" and then "Meh, I'm not really going to do that." I'll probably be too busy with #4, anyway. 
  6. Free childcare. If you're brave enough to drop your kids off at an on-ship children's program so you can do some more adult-y things for a few hours, you know what I mean. It's a little nerve-wracking to entrust your kids to people who are complete strangers (but have presumably passed a background check.) But they'll be fine. They'll probably even have fun.
  7. Packing the entire house, and then some. This is understandable if you're actually going on vacation for a week. But it seems a little excessive how kids go to school staggering under the weight of their mammoth backpacks filled with every conceivable type of school supply in assorted colors. And I still have to figure out where to put the Kleenex, paper towels, and hand sanitizer the teacher asked for. Can't school buses let kids check their luggage underneath for at least the first day?
  8. The maid service. Usually I make my kids clean their own rooms, but I'm not going to lie: sometimes I do it myself while they're at school. Not only can I throw out everything that's broken or unusable, it'll also stay clean all day until they get home. But no way am I leaving towels folded like swans on their beds wearing sunglasses.
  9. The thrill of the first excursion. The best part of a cruise is getting off at all the ports of call and going on adventures! I don't forsee any bungee jumping on my kids' first day back, but I assure you that the first time I visit Target without 5 mini-me's all up in my grill... it's going to be amazing.
  10. You get a little, um, seasick. You look forward to your Caribbean dream vacation for months, and then when it happens you end up feeling a little queasy. No matter how tired you are of refereeing and cleaning up after them, the first day of school is always a little too quiet and just kind of weird without them at home.

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PurpleSlob said...

Haha, Jenny, you are simply the best!! I never heard the first day called that, but you definitely made your case! ;)

Unknown said...

You did a great job at that analogy! There must be a lot of moms out there that look forward to that day as much as they do to a cruise. Hope the seasickness passes!

Jenny said...

Two first for me wrapped up into one. My oldest's first day of school this week and my first cruise next week. This was a good thing to read in preparation, thanks! Haha

Handsfullmom said...


Jenny Evans said...

You are going to love it! Let me know how it compares when you get back.