There's something bittersweet about summer coming to an end. That is, unless you're a parent.
With many local schools starting in August, most parents are gleefully packing up the backpacks and counting down the days until they can drop their precious cherubs off at school and have a quiet house for several blissful hours. Some, though, are ambivalent.
What do they like most — or least — about the start of the school year?
"My favorite day this year is Aug. 22," said Lorna Brown, owner of Santa Rosa's My Gym, choosing her children's first day of school.
Because she owns her business, Brown has hours flexible enough that she doesn't have to worry about fulltime daycare for Morgan, 9, and Callum, 7. That means there is less structure in her house, and Brown has carried the burden of maintaining her kids, her business and any extracurricular activities during the summer.
"I've already planned lunch with another mom friend for the first day of school so we can celebrate surviving summer," she said.
"I'm so excited my kids started school," said Sarah Warner of Rohnert Park. Her son Billy's first day at Evergreen Elementary was July 25, ending her struggle to get him reading or writing in the off-season.
"Better yet," she added, "no more bickering all day with his brother."
Maggie MacNab of Santa Rosa described the sense of exhaustion and relief that comes with the official end of summer. Her biggest frustrations were trying to create activities for her 5-year-old daughter, Jorie, especially with the high cost of summer camps.
"The least expensive camp I found was at her school, but that seemed the least fun to me and a lot like just being in school," MacNab said.