Hot, dirty and tired, the once excited family comes trekking back after three days of rest, relaxation and fighting off mosquitoes and thieving chipmunks. Dragging their bags of dirty laundry behind them, the kids head upstairs to unpack while Mom sorts through whatever food is left over and Dad rinses off and polishes the boat, covers it and stores it back in its corner of the front driveway.
The rubber inner tubes and rafts are checked for holes, and then hung back in the rafters of the garage. Tents and sleeping bags are carefully arranged back in the attic, and the cooler is washed and left on the patio to dry for the last time. The barbecue is brought out and fired up, and choice steaks are grilled to perfection, accompanied by deviled eggs, veggie platters, Doritos and sour cream and onion chips, cantaloupe wedges and lemonade, topped off with chocolate fudge brownies. The smell of citronella and charcoal mixes with sizzling flames and laughter. Friends and neighbors gather to celebrate the close of another summer.
Teenage girls spend the rest of the evening trying to decide what to wear the next day at school. They try on nearly every outfit they own, hoping to make a good first impression. Teenage guys figure they will just put on whatever comes to mind in the morning and then set themselves in front of the television with the rest of the Doritos, a leftover steak, three brownies and a soda.
While the house settles down, Mom joins millions of other moms across America in the age-old tradition of packing a sack lunch the night before the first day of school. The brown bag is packed carefully, nearly overflowing with a crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwich, cheese crackers, carrot sticks with leftover Ranch dip, apple slices, pudding, and a box of grape juice. She smiles to herself, knowing that before long, she will be shoving a few dollar bills in the hands of her children as they rush out the door. But for now, she enjoys the opportunity to provide a well-balanced lunch assembled with love.
To the young child, the recent school supply shopping made them realize that the first day of the new school year was near. But when Mom gets the new sneakers and the 'first day of school' outfit ready, and she sets the new Spider Man or Barbie backpack at the bottom of the stairs, they know school starts in the morning. So off to bed they go, while it's still light outside, too excited to go to sleep right away, and so full of sour cream and onion chips that they need three drinks of water before they finally crash from exhaustion.
Mom and Dad go to bed for the night, knowing that the school bus will come all too early in the morning. But for now, they rejoice in knowing that the restless and bored children will finally be going back to school. And such is the end of a traditional Labor Day weekend in America.