Back-to-school supplies are on sale. We’re getting close. I didn’t find out until I was an adult that my mother threw a back-to-school celebratory brunch for the neighborhood moms on the first day of school after we all left for the bus. I was shocked. A little appalled even. These days I’m thinking, should I serve sit-down style or buffet?

As a kid, seeing back-to-school ads in August made me feel sick to my stomach. Already? Really? But my new circadian rhythm demands I sleep until 10am! Homework! Schedules! Back-to-school shopping! Ugh.

But as every parent knows, the real New Year begins on the first day of school. I don’t know what all this January 1st nonsense is about. The first day of school is the day for new beginnings, fresh starts and resolutions. There’s something about spanking fresh sharpened pencils, unopened boxes of crayons, and non-dog eared notebooks that invigorate the soul. It’s enough to make any parent take a deep breath through the nose and exhale, “Homework! Schedules! Back-to-school shopping! Yippee!”

Not that I haven’t loved summer. The lazy days and the warm nights that seem to stretch on forever, the family get-togethers that don’t have to end too soon because kids have to get up early, have all been wonderful. I love hearing the squeals of delight echoing in the backyard as a result of putting a cold hose on a trampoline, and I’ve loved reading Harry Potter to the kids by the spilled light from the hallway, thinking they’re all asleep and then hearing a faint, “One more chapter!”

We still have a few more things to conquer on our checklist of Summertime Fun. We still need to dip our toes in the sand and splash in the Pacific. We need at least one more jaunt to the library to earn our reading bucks. There are cousins we’ve yet to visit this season! So I guess I’m not quite ready for school to start just yet.

But I have slowly sauntered through the store’s back-to-school supply aisles like a child window shopping at Christmastime. I can smell the pencil shavings already. It’s in the air…

Margaret Anderson is a BYU graduate, returned missionary, freelance writer and mother of five small children. Read more at