“I love the last two weeks of school!” (…said NO MOM EVER!)
Friends, we are in the homestretch, and let me tell you, with all honesty, I am phoning it in! As much as I love my children and want them to succeed in school, I am over all the last-minute projects and end-of-the-year field trips, the awards ceremonies and the concerts, the sign-ups for year-end party donations and the requests to be in eight different places at once.
My second grader was upset with me that I couldn’t attend her last field trip because I had already promised my sixth grader that I’d attend her class’s year-end picnic. (I honestly didn’t know they were at the same time.) I can’t keep straight what day the second grade “Reading Celebration” is and when the junior high awards ceremony—that my eighth grader insists isn’t a big deal but really is—is scheduled for. Even my mom was about to attend my daughter’s choir concert a week early, so it seems that this “end-of-the-school-year discombobulation” is contagious!
I recently heard May described as “the new December, but without all the presents.” (Truth.) I mean, it’s like, let’s take every possible school-related assignment and function and ceremony and celebration and cram them ALL into a span of about 10 days. Multiply that by four children in four different grades at four different schools, and that equals sheer chaos in my household! And let’s not forget all the end-of-season sports tourneys and team parties added into the mix, as well. Stick a fork in me; I’m done.
My “I’m fed up with all this ‘stuff’!” attitude came to a head two weekends ago when my sixth grader, Macy, came home from school on Friday and asked if her friend (we’ll call her “Addy” to maintain anonymity, since I didn’t ask permission to tell this story but am going to anyway!) could come over on Saturday to work on a science project. The project was due Monday. (Of course it was.) Naturally, my first question was, “How long have you know about this project?” The response: “Well….”
Macy had a volleyball tournament that weekend, so we were going to be gone all morning and part of the afternoon on both Saturday and Sunday. She also had a friend’s going-away party to attend on Saturday night, so that left her and Addy with exactly one hour to work on the project on Saturday. Naturally, they didn’t finish, so Macy asked if Addy could come over again the next day to finish up. Me: “You do realize that tomorrow is Mother’s Day, don’t you?” (Yes, I know how to lay a guilt trip on my children!) Thankfully, my family let me take an extra-long nap that day, so Macy and Addy finished their project while I was sleeping.
The next day, Monday, I received a text from Macy during the school day (shh…she isn’t supposed to be texting at school!) that said, “Do we have anything tonight?” “Uh-oh,” I thought. “This is not going to end well for me.” I replied that we had an event to attend at 6:00. She asked if Addy could come over again to work on a different project that was due—you guessed it—the next day. They needed to make brownies for a math assignment (what?!), and the teacher had unexpectedly moved the due date up a week (again, what?!). Addy came over, they made their brownies, Addy’s mom was late picking her up because Addy never texted her to come get her, and we were late to our event. I was not a happy camper.
On Tuesday, my oldest had a doctor’s appointment in the neighboring town—during evening rush hour—so the drive was going to be about 30 minutes one way. She asked if she could bring her laptop to work on an essay while we were in the van. She worked on it most of the way there and back, and when we got home, we immediately ate dinner. I assumed that she had finished the essay because, after dinner, she asked to go outside to take some pictures (she’s really into photography right now). Bedtime rolled around, and she started panicking that her essay (due the next day, OF COURSE!) wasn’t finished! Again, I asked the question, “How long have you known about this assignment?” and again, the answer was, “Well….”
I share these stories not to complain about my kids and their lack of planning (well, partly that!), but to let you all know that if you are overwhelmed by all the year-end school “stuff,” you are not alone. We can make it through! Only a handful of days left, my friends! And if you’re a teacher, hang in there, too! I appreciate all you do, and I know the end of the year is crazy for you, as well…doubly so if you’re also a parent!
I’d also sincerely like to apologize to some of those teachers. I complain about my children’s lack of planning, but I must admit that I am just as bad. If there are notes coming home with my elementary-aged daughter, I’m honestly not getting them because I haven’t checked her backpack in weeks. I’ve flagged the school newsletters in my inbox but rarely get around to reading them, so I’m sure I’m missing vital information. And I’m sorry if I show up at the wrong school on the wrong day at the wrong time because I keep forgetting to put events down on my calendar. Just this morning, I asked my husband if he was going to be able to make it to an event at the elementary for our youngest daughter later this afternoon. His response: “What event?” Oops. Guess I forgot to mention that one!
My oldest, who’s a high school freshman, told me the other day that one of her teachers mentioned (and these are my daughter’s words), “some condition that the kids in the school seem to have.” I laughed and said, “Do you mean ‘Senior-itis’?” She said, “Yeah, that’s it! But I think I have it, too!” I said, “Maybe it should be called ‘end-of-the-school-year-itis,’ instead!” I sure have it. (See above paragraph!)
I’m usually a good planner and a well-organized person, but something happens at this time of year that throws those attributes out the window. The weather gets warmer, which makes sitting in my house figuring out who’s supposed to be where when and who’s got what due on what day almost impossible. I am just as ready for my girls to be out of school as they are so that we can put all the schoolwork behind us and enjoy Summer Break. We also have a family vacation to Europe coming up in a month, so I’m really just wanting to get through the next few weeks so we can enjoy that.
As I’m sitting here “venting” and talking about “just making it through,” I’m realizing that I’m not enjoying the now. I talk about having to attend the year-end picnic as if it’s another event to check off the list before we reach Summer Break—not as if it’s something I get to experience with my daughter and her classmates and all of their parents and actually have fun at. I talk about my other daughter’s Reading Celebration and forget that it is kind of a big deal to her and her class. And I complain about the concert that I “have to sit through” but that is actually a culmination of my daughter’s and her choir’s hard work this year.
This realization is kind of a smack in the face for me, but it’s a good wake-up call that, even though this season of life is crazy-busy, I also need to remember to sit back and try to enjoy it. While I may be bored silly hearing other kids’ names announced for awards that I don’t care about, those kids’ parents are proud of their children, and they have to sit through my child’s name being announced, too. And while the choir concert isn’t necessarily my idea of a fun time, I do swell with pride to see my kiddo—who HATES being on stage—up there overcoming her stage fright and giving it her best. (And we usually go out for ice cream afterwards, so there’s that to look forward to!)
Friends, if you’re like me and just trying to survive these last couple weeks of school, do me a favor: relax, and try to ENJOY it. I’m constantly reminded that my daughters are growing so fast, and it won’t be long before these busy days will only be a memory. I don’t want to look back and remember that I was “just trying to make it through” or that I did an excellent job of “phoning it in.” I want to remember how much fun we had and how proud I was of my kiddos.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go double-check my calendar. I’m pretty certain I’m forgetting something I’m supposed to attend this afternoon….
“For I can do everything (even make it through “Maycember”!) through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 (NLT, with a little addition from yours truly!) 😉