Inside the refrigerator, there's no room whatsoever -- as you might expect in a household of two adults and nine children.

But on the refrigerator door, they've made space for a poem by Bonnie Aughenbaugh of Jefferson, Md., otherwise known as Mom. Her husband, Stan, thought so much of his wife's masterwork that he sent it along. I'm glad he did, for I suspect it will remind you of life around your house on that fateful morning of a couple of weeks ago.

The title of the poem: "Ode to the First Day of School" " 'Twas 6 a.m., the first day of school "Ah, that wonderful golden rule; "All of the children, awake and alert; "Rushed to the bathroom to clean off their dirt; "Poor Dad was amazed as he dressed for work; "And looking to Mom he said with a smirk, " 'Are all of my mornings to be so distressing? " I can't stand this noise and confusion while dressing.' "While down in the kitchen, a new scene was brewing, "As boxes of cereal and milk went a-spewing; "The children, according to their age, "Were each of them dressed in the latest rage. "Five-year-old Ruth, 'Will you please curl my hair?' "Jessica cries, 'Jason took my chair!' "Jason says, 'Mom, can I have the prize?' "David says, 'Take it and I'll blacken your eyes!' "Stanley says, 'I'm the oldest, you know. "So, of course, to me the prize must go.' "Jared must leave in just one hour; " 'Mom, make Arthur get out of the shower!' "Becky arrives in her designer jeans, " 'Hey, don't these heels make me look keen?' "Mom to Dad: 'Some breakfast for you?' " 'Are you kidding? Not in this zoo!' "Out the door and into the car, "But the battery died so he didn't get far, " 'Honey,' says I, 'This will not last, "By tomorrow, the excitement will have passed.' "An hour later, at 8:44 "All of the children were out the door, "Oh, thank heavens for education "By summer's end, mothers need a vacation. "Poor four-year-old Josh is all alone, " 'Mom, when are the kids coming home?' "So off we go, our errands to run, "Before the children again home come . . . "Jared needs locks to protect his gym clothes, "And Becky has a run in her new pair of hose; "David and Jason need binders and glue, "And up pops Jessie, who needs scissors, too "Crayons and file tabs and money for lunch, "And when we get home, something to munch, "Next week they're taking our pictures in school, "Ten dollars in advance; that's the rule. "I'm a veteran mother of 18 years, "But still, the first day of school gives me fears, "At the bottom of my purse, I search and I poke, "Free education is really a joke!"