Celia Rivenbark

Ode to the start of school

Verily, it is written that back-to-school season did once again come to pass and the devoted mom set about to spend the first week packing the perfect lunch for her cherub, carefully cutting sandwiches into dolphin shapes (school mascot), slicing fruit to ensure there would be no seeds or offensive peels and even enclosing a heart-shaped sticky note wishing her angel a wonderful day.

Now, to keepeth things real, fast forward to the last week of school when Precious opens a crumpled KFC bag to behold a handful of stale croutons (but then, who could tell?) sloppily wrapped in foil. There is neither sandwich nor fruit nor loving sticky note advising her to “Make great choices!” or similar well-intentioned drivel. There may, or may not, be a handful of quarters tossed into the bottom of the sack with a curiously wet dollar bill that could be used to augment “lunch” with a selection from the school cafeteria’s vast offerings. If by vast you mean “rice-a- roni and pintos.”

And this is pretty much the norm. The wise mom beateth not herself up but rather spends her time engaging in yon mani-pedi to steel herself for the coming summertime. Oh, and yes, fruits of the vine in abundance.

Within a few weeks of all that back-to-school enthusiasam with its inevitable heaping helping of mompetition, everybody pretty much settles down and gets back to normal.

But, oh, the optimistic, shiny-faced joy of back-to-school season is upon us now! The clean slate! The fresh page! The new puppy ebulliance of a joyful day dawning with freshly sharpened No. 2 (giggle) pencils and composition books with kittens or Taylor Swift on the front. (Again, who could tell?)

As the year wears on, those homemade granola bars you baked over and over until they were perfect (read: finally unglued from the pan and with only half-burned bottoms) and which seemed so important according to high priestess Gwyneth Paltrow back in yon September give way to the January lunchbox staple: Halloween candy, and not even the good stuff, the microscopic “fun size” Snickers that are now so old as to be difficult to separate from the wrapper and your kids get alarmingly good at just popping the whole thing into their mouths and chewing hard.

But, for now! Tis the season of a Converse high top that still hath its white bottom, a Trapper Keeper upon which no scoundrel hath etched unseemly and unwelcome drawings of nastybits on its cover. (Verily, you will no longer be able to look at T. Swift in quite the same way…)

Yes, for now, for the next month, anyway, let the mood be light with jubilation and save the woebetide stuff for later, gator.

It’s a fresh start for us all. Rejoice! At least until that witch Bethany assigns you to make a cornucopia and pumpkin tarts for the class Thanksgiving and all she’s bringing is “paper towels.” Yeah. She needeth to go far away and soaketh her head.

Celia Rivenbark is the New York Times best-selling author of “Rude B****** Make Me Tired.” Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.