“And mom and dad can hardly wait for school to start again”
You know us. You’ve been caroling about us for years. At best, you’ve skimmed past our line with little notice, the way you do lyrics about gay apparel and yon virgins and thanking god that it’s “them instead of you” starving in snowless Africa. It’s more likely, however, that you’ve passed judgment our way at one point or another.
The arc usually goes as follows.
When you’re a kid and self-centered enough to believe that a large man hand delivers your curated loot just because you were vaguely nice, you think we’re crappy parents. Mean. Lazy. You wonder what kind of a cruel mom and dad spends the sweet ass holiday break saying they “can hardly wait” for their kids to get back into boring old school.
But then you get a little older, and you start to get it. As a young adult your holiday becomes less about presents and cookies and Santa’s lap, and more about rum and Netflix and a few days’ break from forking at a sad salad under your office’s buzzing fluorescent lights. You start to understand why two grown adults may want some alone time to stuff each other’s stockings, or whatever.
That is until you have your own children, which is when you swing back and turn against us. With every passing advent, you see the magic in your kids’ eyes getting a little less magical, and you wonder how those two Scrooges in that one song could wish away even one sparkling second of this precious yuletide family fun. You would never give up this fleeting togetherness!
Yeah, well, now it’s 2020. In lieu of holiday cards, our fellow parents, we will instead be accepting your apologies.
Maybe it’s your kindergartener who hasn’t traced a letter since March. Maybe it’s your middle schooler who now thinks the capital of Kentucky is Alexa. Maybe it’s your college freshman whose Zoom fraternity rush turned your best vase into a receptacle for at least three bodily fluids. Whatever the case, your kids are most likely at home a lot this year. Come late December, if not sooner, you too are going to be praying for the miraculous birth of herd immunity.
It’s not that we’re awful. We’re not those weirdos from It’s The Most Wonderful Time of The Year who tell scary ghost stories at Christmastime for some reason. It’s just that kids need structure. This is true all school year, but it’s especially true after a kid-centered vacation in which they’re gifted all sorts of beeping, blinking, bouncing nonsense with which to torment your house and home.
Take our kids (please). Barney got some Hop-a-long boots. Now maybe you haven’t heard of those because, well, who the fuck has? But let me tell you: they’re annoying. He jumps on literally everything, but nothing more so than our nerves. What he needs is to Hop-a-long his little ass back into social studies.
Then there’s Ben, who got a pistol. A. Damn. Pistol. That shoots! You can thank MAGA granny for that. She sent it disguised in a Nerf box with a note reading, “Don’t let those parents of yours steal this like they stole the election.” We’ve both been visited by the Ghost of Mass Shootings Past every restless night since that thing entered our house. When we say we need him back in school, we mean we legit need him out of the house so we can bury that insane gift in an unmarked plot.
As for the twins, Janice and Jen, they both got these dolls that can talk and go for a walk, as you of course know from the song. What the song doesn’t tell you is that these dolls also shit and piss. Sure, it’s just water and some sort of weird brown slime, but trust us when we say it’s not the sort of thing one wants on one’s duvet. You know where these dolls would be great? At a pre-K show and tell. In a room. In a building not zoned residential.
Sadly, none of our four kids are going back to physical school in early January. Many of your kids are likely in the same boat. Team “Can Hardly Wait…” isn’t feeling as lonely this year. Perhaps if you’d all spent more time defending us and less time demanding yet another inferior cover of Last Christmas or of that one song where the dude may or may not have slipped a Bill Cosby drug into his date’s drink, we’d have some organizing power. But we digress.
Look, fine, you’ve judged us over the years. Whatever. Bygones. Strategize with us now and all is forgiven. Hell, get us a vaccine and some after school extracurricular for our kids to join, and you can write a whole new damn song that makes the Grinch seem like a southern woman on Black Friday compared to us. We care not. What we care about is school. In a classroom, not our bedroom.
In closing, let us reinforce that we do agree with our song’s underlying sentiment about the beauty of Christmas. Yes, the tree in the Grand Hotel is as pretty as the one in the park is sturdy. Candy canes, silver lanes—both great. We put holly on our own front door, dutifully but also joyfully. All this glistening is even more important after this sad year.
But we’re not gonna lie: The prettiest sight to see in these closing days of 2020 would be a headline reading, “Soon the bells will start.” That is, if the thing that will make them ring is first period math class. Sorry, not sorry.