Back to school, ready or not

Our ski trip was a blast, but returning to the scene of the holiday crime (the detritus from 5 kids’ worth of presents and a very dry tree) was epic. Griffin said earnestly, “Christmas is really over. Now we’re cleaning.” Ha ha! And so we did. The kids pitched in, and for the first time in my life I had fun taking down the holiday decorations.

The girls in particular marveled over the sparkly ornaments and challenged each other to be the most responsible in tucking them away. By the end of cleaning out the family room (aka toy heaven/hell), we realized the boys had created mini stashes of ornaments with swords to play with. It’s very hard to chastise a kid for hiding a tiny Nutcracker under his pillow, at least without laughing.

We all joined forces and cleaned out the toys. It was…remarkable to see how many tiny pieces ended up in random corners. My favorite was the costume box: so full of legos and playmobil that they had to empty it with a bucket. As tedious a job as that was, we’re heading back to school with a much more functional house. The kids got tons of rewards, we get a chance to start fresh, and we all spent time together til the bitter end of winter vacation.

It’s easy to observe the kids getting older when their behavior shifts so dramatically. Last year during the post Xmas purge, Dave and I were pretty much on our own. Same as with the holidays, this year felt like many hands. I won’t go so far as to call the work light, but I’m serious proud of our kiddos.

Tomorrow, it’s back to the drill! Morning alarm, controlled panic, lunchboxes and library books await us. But it can’t quite shake our gratitude for the life we live, and the people we share it with. Happy new year, everyone.