April Jeppson: Dancing in the kitchen and the drop-off lane

Published 8:41 pm Thursday, August 23, 2018

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

April Jeppson


As my kids are unbuckling and hurrying out of the van I yell to them, “Don’t forget!” — “To be awesome!” they reply in unison. It’s our family motto of sorts, a reminder that they are responsible for being better than just “good.” It’s my end of the class cheer that I have my gymnastics students shout, and our family even has it carved into our brick at the splash pad. Dropping off my children at school this week brought on a myriad of feelings, and not all of them are awesome.

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Can we just talk for a moment about back-to-school shopping? Finding the correct pack of Swedish-carved mahogany grade No. 2 pencils and the other $57 worth of school supplies for each kid is a hassle, but I’m not even talking about that. I’m talking about how my children seemed to have grown 2 inches over the summer, and all those pants I bought on clearance last spring are now too short. Or how children’s sneakers and backpacks rarely make it through an entire school year. I use to love back-to-school shopping as a kid. The only thing I genuinely like buying for my kids this time of year is fresh underwear and socks. Is this what my life has become? I look forward to buying children’s underwear — ugh.

How did my kids get so big? My youngest, our baby, is in preschool this year. She has shoes that tie and a backpack, and she marches into her classroom as if she has waited her whole life to be there. Wasn’t I just rocking her to sleep? Where did the time go? My son, who will soon be 10, recently informed me that we had a “non-family” person in the house and that I needed to stop dancing in the kitchen. Um, excuse me? First off, young man, I’m a ridiculously good dancer. Second, you should be grateful that I’m even allowing your friend into our house. I couldn’t believe it — he was embarrassed of me. Not mortified, but he was definitely aware that he could potentially be judged by his friend and he did not want to be teased later about his mother’s crazy good dance moves. So in awesome mom fashion, I made sure to increase previously mentioned hip shaking and make eye contact with both my son and his smiling guest.

Or how about the drop-off lane? I personally love this smooth option for bringing my kids to school — when it’s used properly. I’ve learned that it takes a week or two after school starts for everyone to figure it out. It’s finding the patience to keep a smile on my face during this first week that always tests me. If your child still has a 12-point harness car seat, or needs help putting on their clothes, you my sweet friend, probably don’t belong in the drop off lane. I was behind such a car earlier this week. The little cutie that was brave enough to finally open their door and leave the comfort of their father looked barely old enough to be in kindergarten. I, along with the vehicles lining up behind me, had to wait an entire Taylor Swift song before the dad was able to pull ahead and drive away. If your kid isn’t capable of unbuckling while the car is slowing down and performing a military grade tuck and roll, please just park the car and walk with them.

Lucky for ya’ll, some of my back-to-school feelings are warm and fuzzy, and I’ll share some of those, too. The weather has been delightfully cooler this week. So much cooler that I started warming my favorite winter Scentsy fragrance. There is something about cinnamon, pumpkin, apple and vanilla. It just evokes images of kids going back to school, cool breezes, leaves changing color and 20-year-olds wearing Uggs and sipping pumpkin spice lattes. I love getting to wear a hoodie in the morning when I run my errands, and I really love how my electric bill is going to be lower now that the air conditioning isn’t running constantly.

I’m so happy that the first week of school is coming to a close, and my children are getting back into a routine. Don’t get me wrong, I love summer vacation. But there is something blissful about putting the kids to bed a tad earlier so that my husband and I get to sneak in an extra show after they’ve gone to sleep. Part of that routine also means that all three of my kids are in school for at least some of the day, and now I get to run errands alone. It’s about as close to magical as this momma gets. 

So although this time of year brings about its fair share of chaos, it’s worth it. Soon we’ll have to deal with shoveling driveways and scraping windshields. So, today I’m just going to wear my hoodie, enjoy the smell of my house and try not to forget to be awesome.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams.