This post about another school year passing by was lovingly first published at the SpitfireMom Society and has been annotated for a two year fast forward and move to Utah. Here I am again. Another year down. Enjoy!
I can’t even believe that I’m typing these words, but, my boys’ last week of school is next week. Wasn’t I just talking about getting kids back into the school groove a few weeks ago? It’s a cliché, but when your kids are in school, the years really do fly by. They grow up faster than you can even comprehend. One minute you’re gently nudging them onto the school bus as a kindergartner, and the next you’re handing over the keys so they can drive themselves to school. (Okay, I’m not quite there yet, but my 9-year-old would totally do it if given the chance.) [2017 note – he’s 11! How the hell did that happen?! And, true to form, he took off in his grandparents’ golf cart over spring break and got “pulled over” by the community safety patrol. LOL – stay away, 16! We’re not ready for you!]
And at the end of each of these blurry school years, I sit back and take stock of the year. You know, in my free time. And what I sheepishly admit to myself every single year, is that I SUCK at this parenting-a-school-age-kid thing in the months of March, April, and May.
My Parenting Throughout the School Year, at a glance:
In August and September, everything is new and shiny. You want to make sure your kid hits it off with his teacher. Make sure the snacks and lunches are stocked up, planned and packed in advance. Make sure that everything is READY.
When October and November hit, you’re in the thick of the year. Homework is hitting your kid in earnest. You’ve figured out the quirks of this year’s teacher. You know who in the class is going to be a BFF and who’s going to be a problem.
December? Pfft. Might as well take the whole damned month off from work because you’re going to be at holiday programs, parties, there’s teacher gift shopping to accomplish, and meanwhile, the homework continues. The snacks get a little sketchy, and they’re having school lunch more often.
January – a fresh start! Except after having had 2 weeks off you and the kids are rebelling against going to bed early, waking up early, packing lunches and snacks, and doing homework. Can’t winter break go on forever??
February – oh, fine, if we MUST buckle down I guess we can. Let’s get this damned science project started and…wait a minute…it’s due WHEN?
March – spring break! Awesome. Didn’t we just get back into our routine and now we’re off for another week? Well, get your homework done before we leave and don’t forget to bring your chapter book on vacation!
April – Read the chapter book in 2 nights because you forgot to bring it on vacation. Now’s the time when your kid’s homework is late more often than not. He’s going to bed an hour past bedtime each night (curse you, Daylight Savings Time!) and sports season starts up again as is your part time job as child chauffeur. Packed lunches? Yeah, right. It’s taco Tuesday at school, kid, and you’re going to like it.
May – between the projects, class parties, field day, and teacher appreciation week, you are SCREWED.
Just in the past week I’ve blown the following tasks:
~ Teacher appreciation week. I swear on my life that I appreciate teachers. They are incredible, amazing, awesome people. My sons LOVE their teachers with their whole hearts. But. Do I really have to remember 6 different things for teacher appreciation week? Really? (1) cash donation, (2) flowers, (3) handwritten note from kiddo, (4) handwritten writing prompt for kiddo to complete for inclusion in bound book for teacher, (5) cash donation for the school staff, and (6) don’t forget – it’s also school spirit week so there’s a themed outfit for each day of the week. WTF. I accomplished #1 and #4 and I think that’s a pretty respectable average. If this week were celebrated in September, I would ROCK the crap out of it. But noooooo, it’s in May. I don’t have a prayer. [2017 and Utah update: I’m actually pining for the good-ol-days of being told what to do for teacher appreciation week. I got nothing but a reminder this time around and, you guessed, did not remember. I have lots of good excuses and defenses, but I’m fairly sure my kids have now been branded as saddled “unappreciative parents” and the rest of their school career is doomed. Excuse me while I muster up the energy to give a crap.]
~ Long-term homework assignments. My sons are saddled with a procrastinator as a mother. I’m trying like hell to not let them follow those doomed footsteps, to no avail. This past Sunday night I asked my son when his 20-page math packet was due. “Ummm, I think it’s due tomorrow.” WHAT???? YOU’RE ON PAGE 6!!!!! [2017: With a fifth grader now, I can’t even describe the agony that is long-term homework assignments. Just shoot me. He was reading a biography of Benedict Arnold this morning while he was in the shower. SMH.]
~ Class parties. I really love going to class parties, but seriously, I cannot possibly remember to bring one more single thing or to volunteer to run a game. You don’t want me. I’ll be incessantly checking my work email and acting like a control freak when those poor kindies can’t properly pin the tail on the donkey. If you ask me to bring M&Ms, please expect me to bring marshmallows. If you ask for a $5 donation, please ask me for it 5 times. (It’s a 1:1 ratio on money: reminders.) I admittedly wait until the last minute for everyone else to volunteer for the kindergarten party, and my poor friend had to ask me 5 times for the 5 bucks for the 3rd grade party. Sigh. [2017: I have received NOTHING regarding class parties. Do they not do class parties in Utah?! Halle-frickin–lujah! But secretly you and I both know that I just didn’t see that email. I’m totally supposed to bring five pounds of sour patch kids and pop rocks.]
~ Unrelated, but our kids really need new shoes. Every time they kick their shoes off in my car it’s like Death himself has set up camp under my seat. [2017 – Death laughs at my silly mortal belief that 9 and 6-year-olds have smelly shoes. He is conjuring the preteen stench of lacrosse gear in his evil cauldron, and will plant it underneath the seats of my SUV to bake in the fickle springtime sun.]
The Silver Linings:
Yes, like all of us, at the end of the school year I totally fixate on all the ways in which I have screwed up and not lived up to the ridiculous ideal of perfection that keeps smacking me in the head. And then my kids do something amazing that brings me right back down to earth.
~ My Kindie asked if we could buy his teacher flowers on Sunday. Not because we missed Teacher Appreciation week flower day, but because he just wanted to get her flowers. [2017: This is in large part because he had one of the sweetest, most wonderful women on this planet as his kindergarten teacher. I miss her every day!]
~ The third grader kicked ASS and finished that math packet Monday morning. Yeah, I had to tell his teacher that I didn’t know it was due yet, but my kid totally bailed me out. [2017: Benedict Arnold isn’t as juicy as Alexander Hamilton, but he still managed to get through.]
~ Both boys are excited for summer break, but sad about school being over and missing their friends and teachers. They are smart, sweet, ambitious, respectful, happy, healthy, and are good friends to their classmates. [2017: Ditto times infinity.]
~ I will get to do this all over again in a few short months. And I’ll be awesome at it in August and September, just like I am every year. I’ll try to remind myself that there aren’t going to be an infinite number of back-to-school times, nor an infinite number of crazy end-of-school-year times. Each one zooms past me like an unstoppable freight train. So things aren’t perfect, and I fail to live up to my own expectations more times than I care to admit. But at the end of each year, my husband and I have two wonderful kids to show for our efforts, however flawed those efforts may be.