Published Friday, August 10, 2012
I watched the classic movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” for the first time recently. While the film is brimming with memorable characters and quotes, the one I can relate to the most is the old man who keeps repeating, “I’m tired!”
It’s back-to-school week, and I have uttered the same phrase a dozen times – each day. I can’t imagine what the teachers and kids must feel like.
I can honestly say we spent the past few weeks getting adjusted to a normal bedtime and an early wakeup – the only problem is it wasn’t in our time zone.
You see, we visited my sister in Alaska and readily adjusted to her family’s schedule, albeit four hours behind us. Turns out, it’s much harder to revert back to one’s own time zone. On our return trip, we traveled all night – the sun never seeming to go down – and finally landed in Atlanta at 1:30 in the afternoon.
Once home, my son fell asleep and woke up six hours later.
“What time is it?” he asked.
“It’s 8:30,” I said.
“A.M. or P.M.?” he said.
It was then that I knew we were in trouble.
Fortunately, we recovered from our jet lag. Unfortunately, it was just in time to spend the weekend school shopping.
In case you have not had to do this in a while, it’s bad enough to make one want to endure a seven-hour flight next to Beetlejuice back to Alaska. No, I didn’t just watch that movie, too. My son and I actually sat next to him on the way home. At least he looked, sounded, and, I’m certain, smelled like him.
As he slipped his shoes off and starting snoring, I even tried saying “Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!” to see if it would make him disappear. Alas, no such luck.
As unpleasant as it was, it still beat shopping amongst anxious kids and even more anxious moms, especially since we had to go to a certain big box store in town. Sure, their prices are low, and they have everything, but does anyone, anyone, really enjoy going there? Anyone?
Certainly not my son.
“Mom, just get me a couple of church and picture day shirts,” he said. “I don’t really care about matching. Now, can we go look at the air soft guns?”
I grabbed the last two golf shirts off the rack and followed him to his favorite section, watching his eyes light up at the sight of a remote-controlled tank.
“Look, Mom, we can put you in the bunker with the remote!” he said.
Seeing the advantages to that, we took it up front and stood in line for a price check. It cost three times the amount of his two shirts. It took all of my strength not to buy it. He was my baby, and he was starting middle school, and he doesn’t know it yet, but soon he’ll discover girls and care about having more than two shirts.
Soon, he won’t care if I’m in the bunker with him. In a blink of an eye, he’ll be flying on his own, and his mom will be waving behind at the airport.
I wanted to give in, but, instead, I told him he could do some chores around the house to earn money. It will help him learn to appreciate things, and, as for me? Well, I’m tired.