My daughter is finishing off first grade. No matter what grade your kid is finishing, it’s a big deal for a lot of parents that school has ended.
The end of the school year is basically controlled chaos. There are activities, recitals, and award ceremonies that all require attendance. Especially when you’re a parent that’s new to the school scene. Your anxiety levels rise because you’re sure that if you miss an event, your kid will end up being a junkie on the streets. If you miss their soccer jamboree your child will suffer from having no self worth and live a life of struggle or constantly trying to find hope in the bottom of a Ben and Jerry’s pint. (“Every But The ...” is personally my favorite flavor.)
OK, that’s extreme and I don’t really feel that way, but being new to the school scene, there is a little pressure I’m still getting used to, but all in all I’ve gotten a grip. Like volunteering.
I recently volunteered for the field trip to the Anchorage Museum and Anchorage Zoo. I woke up bright and early, and when we all got on the bus my daughter wanted to sit by her friend. Typical. I found a bus buddy and she was great. The first thing she told me was, “When my little brother sits on my sister’s lap she says he has a bony butt.” Jackpot. I’m sitting by the kid that’s going to give me a good article for Sunday’s paper.
A few of my favorite things she told me was that her dad was holding a brand new baby and it puked down his back, but they thought it was funny because no one told him about it until it smelled so bad he finally figured it out for himself. She asked if I cried at movies and I said yes, all the time. Sympathetically she nodded and informed me while watching “Titanic” she cried so much that she used 10 whole tissues. I looked impressed and she said, “It’s a true story.”
Oh my word. This kid is awesome. She told me about her auditions and performed a monologue. She told me if she makes a lot of money while modeling, she promises to buy me a limo. “I’ll hold you to it,” was my reply.
The honesty of kids is remarkable. She let me know that I looked really, really tired. And I made the mistake of asking, “How tired?” She said, “Like you haven’t slept in 3 weeks.” Thank you, child. For that.
I was the shmuck parent that rode the bus. It was the newly upgraded bus with black leather-like padded seats and seat belts. Have you been on the new buses? They are not the cardboard junk we had growing up where every bump and pebble on the road dug into your hind parts. I didn’t mind riding the bus, because truth be told (as I’ve mentioned before), I’m fresh meat to having school aged kids. Ask me to bake 2 dozen cookies the night before and I’ll stay up until midnight and bake you 3 dozen. Ask me to bring something and I’ll bring you the Rolls Royce version. For now. Give me another year or two and I will be buying the pre-made brick cookies from the closest gas station just like everyone else.
Worrying about homework, packing a lunch, and strict bedtimes is now at an end. Waiting until the weekend for sleepovers or birthday parties is no longer necessary; the weekdays are available on the open market again. We all get to dodge kids in the grocery stores as their parents yell at them to stop running and in our neighborhoods where they ride their bikes that magically appear out of nowhere.
But at one point we were those kids, so maybe just show a little grace and remember in a few months the school routine starts over.
Here’s the thing: Now that school has ended our kids are home now. The tables have turned. It’s our turn to do a little homework and get into the groove of summer. Where can we take them to burn off energy? How can we encourage learning in the middle of a fun summer? Whether you visit the beach, the parks, the pool, the library, or just plain ol’ fashion hanging out with friends and family, there are many options!
As Alaskans we know that it’s not going to be summer forever, so enjoy this small window of time and make the most of it. In the same way we know our kids won’t be young forever ... so enjoy this small window of time and make the most of it.
School’s out for summer! Enjoy!
Kasi McClure enjoys being a wife and mother of two in Kenai. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.