The End (of the School Year) is Near

School ends next week. How is this possible? I’m pretty sure it can’t have been longer than two months ago that my kids stepped foot onto the school bus for their first days of third grade, first grade and kindergarten, and Jonah teared up at being left alone with only me, Mom, five days a week. I demand a recount.

I’m both relieved and panicked over summer vacation. On one hand, it will be nice to not need to be dressed and out the door by 8 am each morning. Okay, so it’s usually just the kids who are dressed by then, as I don’t bother getting out of my pajamas until I have to leave the house many days, but still. We can sit over breakfast and discuss what we’d like to do for the day. Garden? Run through the sprinkler? Go to the park? Make chains out of dandelions?

On the other hand, all four kids will be home all day long. I had just grown accustomed to having three kids in school, and now the schedule changes again?

Summer stretches out before me and I know this – there will be little in the way of idyllic, educational moments in the garden or casual and stress-free walks to the park. My afternoons will be filled with asking the kids to please not trample the seedlings and shouting, “Do NOT push your brother down the rock wall!” at the playground. I should probably go out this week and buy some black and white striped shirts because I’m guessing 87% of my time will be spent playing referee between siblings and keeping them from attacking each other with light sabers and sippy cups (Jonah has deadly aim with his cups, as the older three kids can attest).

In addition to the role of mediator, I will be the family’s friendly taxi driver.. Between Grant and Miles, we’ll be at baseball games four nights a week. Isla will have gymnastics twice a week. The older three kids will have swimming lessons twice a week, if I can get the instructor to call me back. That’s looking a little iffy, though – she taught the kids the last two summers in a row and perhaps the lack of a return phone call means she’s grown weary of our rowdy boys (Isla is a model student, but I bet it would be awkward for the swim school owner to say, “Your daughter can come back, but you may want to send your boys to boot camp”).

I’m not a mom who dreads summer vacation, though, don’t get me wrong. I don’t wear black the first day they’re all home or call my friends crying because I can’t handle the constant strain of my kids being with me 24 hours a day for three months. Or at least I have the decency to wait to do that until at least the fourth week of vacation.

I am a realist, though, and I know that if our weekends during the school year aren’t 100% perfect, then this big extended break can’t be 100% trouble-free, either. But I’m ready for the adventure; perfection isn’t expected or necessary.  I am looking forward to a moderately simpler time with my brood. More family time, no homework, less TV, trips to the lake, trips to the zoo, homemade ice cream, barbecues, walks around the neighborhood that extend past bedtime and it’s okay. The kids will smell like sunscreen and sunshine and grass and dirt and sidewalk chalk and, yes, they will scream, but at least some of the screams will be because the water from the sprinkler is deliciously and startlingly icy, or because they are chasing a butterfly across the yard.

Is it summer yet?

This post was written to participate in Heather’s free writing exercise Just Write at The Extraordinary Ordinary.

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Comments

  1. What a great post. My son (first born) is in school for the very first time this year, so we are approaching our first summer. While things won’t be quite as busy with just my two, I think you captured those feelings perfectly.

    My favorite line: “I’m ready for the adventure; perfection isn’t expected or necessary.” If that doesn’t capture motherhood, I don’t know what does!

  2. I enjoy the summers, due to my kids’ visitation schedules (I have them both in the summer). But I am also a nanny so I go from having two toddlers during the day (one mine, one my charge) to having two toddlers, THREE gradeschoolers and a high schooler to balance. And I love every moment of it…until I collapse in exhaustion when they return to their education!

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