Whenever I see some establishment’s “summer hours” still posted on a door or website, I have to laugh. “Maybe in your world,” I say to myself. “Certainly not in ours.”
A new school year is in full swing, but not just any school year. It’s the start of high school for us, with a new building, new teachers, new classes, new clubs, new sports teams and a new wake-up time that, to some freshmen I know, probably feels like the middle of the night.
The years of a cushy start time are over. That early bus that I used to hear in past years come rumbling down the road when my family was still blissfully asleep is now our daughter’s bus.
I have always been an early riser, but I am no longer alone these weekday mornings. There is no more quiet time to read the newspaper, have a cup of coffee, maybe even do a few household chores. Instead, alarm clocks are ringing all over the place. Hallway lights are on. Showers are running. Hair dryers must now be shared. Even the cat seems to be demanding breakfast at the crack of dawn.
In fact, if any of us move breakfast any earlier than we already have this month, we’ll be eating cereal soon after last night’s dinner. I’m kidding, of course. But no wonder I’m ready for lunch at 10 a.m.
Yes, this is the new school year with a new schedule. One with class periods that read like the arrival and departure times at an airport: 7:45 a.m. 1:11 p.m.
Every minute counts these mornings. There is no more tossing still-damp laundry into the clothes dryer so it can be worn that day. No more quick runs to the grocery store for fresh fruit because someone ate the last banana last night. Our freshman knows that it’s best that every permission slip be signed before bedtime. Every homework assignment completed. Every gym sneaker packed. Every folder, notebook and calculator dumped into the backpack the night before.
“I have to go in early tomorrow,” our daughter announced one evening this week. I thought she was kidding. She was not.
Because along with this new territory comes the constant reminder of the importance of teens getting a proper night’s sleep – and the challenges for teens and parents to try and make that happen. It’s not easy.
“Many teens assume they are expected to function with a lack of sleep, but sleep is not optional; it is biologically necessary,” the National Sleep Foundation tells us.
So far, mornings have run pretty smoothly at our house. The first few weeks of school and even Parents’ Open House are behind us, but there is much more to come. Concerts, clubs, new subjects, field trips, interesting projects, homecoming ... and weekend mornings where the alarm clocks are silent.