The end of summer has arrived at last,
Beach days and pool time, all in the past.
A brand-new school year! Don’t worry. I’m on it.
Well, to be honest, I’m ready to vomit.

I filled out a worksheet, detailed and long,
About the hopes and dreams for my spawn.
Did he enjoy reading? Did he like math?
Oh, yes, at this age, he’s reading Sylvia Plath.

He’s happy! He’s friendly! I gamely jotted.
But who am I to judge? I am besotted.

How might I want to volunteer in the class?
I tried art last year, and I looked like an ass.
I can help with reading or writing, I said.
I tried gym last year, too, but frankly, I bled.

Then it was time to find a snapshot,
Capturing our summer, carefree and hot.
I raced to CVS last night in haste,
And picked up some binders, glue, and paste.
Then I got in line at the one-hour photo booth,
Feeling more than a little uncouth.
I felt guilty for being so late,
Until I saw three other parents, lying in wait.

And now where oh where is his sweatshirt?
Orange Under Armour, caked with dirt?
It’s the only one he’ll don on the first day.
No Carter’s or OshKosh anymore. No way.
I found it in his backpack with a sandwich from June,
And a half-rumpled drawing of the sun and moon.
Guess the teacher didn’t think it was a framer.
Oh well, not that I blame her.

He woke up at seven, bouncing off the walls.
Screaming and cackling, racing down the hall.
Bath all done, nails neatly trimmed.
(He definitely won’t be this clean again.)

Then out the door he raced with a wave,
I walked behind him a few paces, breathless and brave.
Clearly I was more nervous than him,
A bit tired on the walk (how I wish I were slim).

And then there was his teacher, waiting at the door.
Here come ten kids, and now ten more.
A few parents were crying, others looked panicked.
I’m sure a couple reached for a Xanax.

And now he’s in class, all big and grown.
And at last, for the first time in months
I
Am
Finally
Alone!