Get Out of the House


Wishes Do Come True


Rebecca Meekma

After weeks of wishing for the school year to begin, my wish came true. Surprisingly, both Meekma girls were as anxious to get back to El Morro as I was to send them. Now, they’re not perfect students who spend recess working out the next year’s math problems or anything like that. They simply love learning new things, their teachers, being with friends for six and half hours a day and no nagging for playdates required.


I decided to forego back to school haircuts as I knew the girls would still be in the pool and ocean for the next month or so. Instead I treated them to back-to-school manicures and pedicures, an outing that they love, as it is a rare occasion for them. My philosophy on mani/pedis for girls: something fun and special – not something that just happens on a regular basis. And this time, they chose alternating neon colors, decorated in sparkly zebra (or tiger) stripes. Good times.


We had done a reasonable amount of shopping in August. Not too much as Laguna’s September is not really fall weather clothing. But they had new outfits and most importantly, new bookbags and lunch bags.


Over Labor Day weekend, I restocked the kitchen with lunch staples: cheese sticks, apple sauce cups, peanut butter and jelly. Experience had taught me to start lunches the night before to reduce the number of ridiculously stress-inducing chores that happen before 7:15 a.m. on school days.


So with first-day outfits laid out, hair washed, bags ready with bus passes and new pencils, the girls actually went to sleep by 8:30 for the first time since June. It seemed I had barely slept when my alarm sounded at 6:15. Here it was: the first day of school.


Things moved along with a minimum of yelling. Dressed, they came downstairs for breakfast. They ate reasonably healthily. We added the colds to the lunch boxes. I should have realized things were too good to last. As Maggie went to load her lunchbox into her new backpack – the purple one with hearts and peace signs that took several shopping trips to painstakingly choose – she calmly said; “Mom, my backpack is wet.”


No spilled water here. This was the work of the quietest member of the family, Trouble the Cat. Apparently, he was the only one not happy about the first day of school. So he spoke up the only way he knew how and peed in Maggie’s new bag.


This is where the story should get really crazy. And it does, except in the opposite way.


Maggie stayed calm and did not burst into tears. I picked the bag up & put it on the porch. The bus pass and new pencil case were unscathed. David pronounced the bag washable. And, with very little prompting, big sister Izzy offered her prized jelly fish tote bag (it had been a birthday gift in June and she loved it so much she had only used it once over the summer) to her younger sister so she would still have a new and special bag for the first day.


To my amazement Maggie said sure to the offer of the jelly fish tote. We packed up her new bag, finished brushing hair and teeth, and they were out the door on time.


Miracles do happen. Little sisters weather small tragedies. Big sisters step up to the plate and help. The school year was off to a great start.



Rebecca Meekma is that friend who always knows something fun to do and the Calendar Editor for Parenting OC. She reminds everyone to wear broad-spectrum sunscreen all summer long. Follow her blog at

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