10 guaranteed predictions for the 2011-12 school year

“Yes, hello, 911? I’d like to report a missing summer. It was last seen a few days ago at the pool. One minute it was there, the next I was using the Jaws of Life to pry my son out of bed.”

Maybe it’s just me, but wasn’t yesterday June the 10th? I so vividly remember our last-day-of-school tradition. Each year on the final day, just after the bell rings, the Wright Six head to our favorite custard stand to celebrate our collective survival.

It seems only 10 minutes after stuffing the backpacks into a closet, we’re digging them out again.

Seriously, this summer has come and gone faster than a Jennifer Lopez movie. At least it was more enjoyable. The summer of 2011 brought us tans and lemonade stands, puppet shows and homemade movies, go-kart rides and dad’s disastrous diving board flips. Those left a lasting impression – on my back.

With Labor Day behind us and school finally starting today, the time has come to look ahead and make my annual predictions. Admittedly, there are many things I cannot predict about the 2011-12 school year. But there are 10 things I most certainly can. Maybe, just maybe, someone might relate to an item or three.

First, my second-grader will be asked to stop talking 1,673 times. He will comply exactly twice. It will later be learned that on those two occasions, he had the flu.

Second, his mother will chase that same little guy to the school bus precisely 180 times. Please note the number of school days in our county school district: 180.

Third, my oldest daughter, a high school sophomore, will use the phrase “it was good” to describe every single school day, even the one when an alien lands on the football field wearing a sombrero, a seersucker suit and speaking Tagalog.

Fourth, the same sweet girl will earn straight A’s, turn sixteen, go on her first date accompanied by an armed security detail, get her driver’s license and cause her father to buy stock in whatever company makes Just for Men.

Fifth, my seventh-grader will wake up one day and decide it’s no longer cool for her dad to surprise her by showing up for lunch in the school cafeteria. This will cause me to cry in the car and blame it on winter allergies.

Sixth, that same innocent girl will stop believing one of life’s greatest truths – that boys have cooties. This means I will have to stop wearing my favorite T-shirt. It’s the one that says, “Boys Have Cooties.”

Seventh, my part-time preschooler will make enough construction paper crafts to fill the Mall of America. All of them, no matter what they look like, will make his parents so proud we’ll suggest opening a store there to sell them.

Eighth, that same scholar will ask, “What time do the big kids come home?” so often that his mother will bedazzle all of his T-shirts with the drop-off time. When the bus arrives, he will meet his older siblings at the door with Little Debbie snacks and Wii remotes.

Ninth, my wife and I will attend 122 school concerts at four different schools, 98 of which will include children playing the recorder at decibels rivaling jet aircraft and the play area at Chuck E. Cheese.

Tenth, the year will pass in a blazing blur and, by the time I’ve learned their teachers’ names, we’ll be back at the custard stand conspiring over another adventurous summer.

Most of all, I promise you this: my wife and I will wish the year hadn’t gone so fast. We will marvel at how our children have grown and we will be grateful for another year to do it all over again.

“You still there, 911 operator? Can you can see my dilemma? If you could find my missing summer, I’d greatly appreciate it. Though I have a suspicion I might be calling you when the school year vanishes just as fast. But until then, can I keep the Jaws of Life? They also work great on tuna cans.”

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