Darcie Maranich

Darcie Maranich


My kids go back to school next week.  And yes, I do realize that the calendar shows it is but mid-July.  I am always reminded how unusual our school start date is when I proudly post back-to-school pictures on my Facebook news feed only to be replied to with comments that perhaps not-so-subtly question my sanity.  I would dispute that it is not my sanity that is in question, but that of the school district’s powers that be.

I freely admit that going back to school in mid-July is tough, especially when so many of our friends and loved ones from across the country are just getting their summer vacations underway.  We see photos of smiling faces beneath swaying palms or sticky s’mores fingers around a campfire and then we promptly pack lunchboxes and backpacks and await the arrival of the school bus.  Somehow, the luster of sharpened pencils pales in comparison to crystal waters of Caribbean beaches and great outdoor adventures.

It’s not all bad, though.  One of the perks of our topsy-turvy schedule is that students (and parents!) in our year-round district are treated to a three-week school break in the early fall.  Just as those students around the country are settling in to the daily grind, we find ourselves footloose and fancy-free, granted the ability to sleep in and stay up late without doing much in between, if we so choose.  And, in case you’re wondering, we do indeed so choose.

Going back to school in the height of monsoon season is always interesting.  Given our rural location, it is not uncommon to find ourselves trapped on all sides by raging washes.  And—wouldn’t you know it—those summer rains almost always coincide perfectly with the release of school.  A couple of years ago, I was trapped on all sides by closed roads and I had no choice but to wade into a knee-high rush of water to escort my then fifth-grader from her bus stop to the safety of our minivan on the other side.  All the while, my imagination ran wild with images of rattlesnakes and tarantulas lurking in the murky, muddy waters.  But they wouldn’t hurt me if the nearby lightning struck us first.  Ah yes, these are the adventures of going back to school during the desert monsoon.

And so it is with a heavy heart that I bid adieu to lazy summer days and carefree weeknights.  The time has come for me and mine to pick up the pace.  Not to worry, though; I’ll be sure to keep my back-to-school articles to myself until a more reasonable date so that the rest of you can go about your summer vacations with pleasure.  Don’t mind us over here.  Sniff, sniff.

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