This week it finally happened.

The long-anticipated first day of school followed yet again a very long summer vacation.

Of course, I was the person who was looking forward to the start of school. The kids? Not so much.

One of the benefits of school starting is I don’t come home to a disaster zone.

There are no unwashed dishes piling up and no counters full of crumbs.

There is no dirty laundry to fall over and not all the televisions and lights are on, even though nobody is even in the room. I have long suspected that my children are afraid of light switches and off-buttons.

The worst thing about summer vacation, though, is the fact the kids somehow manage to turn their sleep schedule upside down.

They wander the night like vampires and sleep most of the days with the curtains drawn. That is a hard habit to kick during the last week of summer vacation.

Reminders to go to bed early are met by resistance along the lines of “I am 16. I am old enough to know what I am doing.”

If that were the case, the school would not call asking if the child is sick or on medication because he just happened to nod off during class.

There was an upside to summer vacation, though. I had the mornings to myself. I could sleep longer and I enjoyed my coffee in peace and quiet.

Now I am back to getting up at 5 a.m. just to have a chance for coffee and to mentally prepare myself for what is about to come.

I have to admit our 10-year-old daughter is easy to awaken and operates independently in the morning.

Our teenager is a whole different story. The waking-up process starts decently, but after the 10th trip into his room, voices get louder and louder so that even the dogs go into hiding.

The first day of school went fairly smoothly, but things slowed down the second day.

By the end of the day, I was uncertain which I like better: school time or vacation time.

We made it through the first week of school, and already I found myself waiting for the end of May. Vacation time. What glorious days. And then I start thinking — there are many more years of this. The grumpy faces in the morning and the constant reminders at night: “Do your homework. Go to bed.”

And while all kids are different, during the teen years they all share one attribute: moodiness. And they share a common goal: drive their parents insane.

I know what I’m talking about. I am halfway there.

Contact Alexandra Cole at or (254) 501-7470.

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