Today is the last day of school and while I know there a lot of parents that dread the start of summer vacation, I happen to love being a stay-at-home-mom in the summer. Sure, I'll miss having a couple hours to myself everyday to be able to swear out loud and I won't have uninterrupted time to sit on my ass, eat chips, paint my nails and occasionally work out, but I will gladly trade these things in for the knowledge that, at least for a couple months, the main things I worry about are getting the kids to tennis lessons on time, whether or not it's okay to grill hot dogs three nights in a row, and if we should have happy hour on the deck or in the driveway.
As my kids get older, the school year has definitely become more time consuming. For example, Zoe's last few days of kindergarten revolved around eating cookies, hanging out on the playground, a party, an art project and singing songs. Charlie's a sixth grader and his second week of June included a phy-ed sports day, a full-day field trip, and an end-of-year party that lasted five hours (the other hour and-a-half was taken up with lunch and recess). On the other hand, Zach's last few days as an eighth grader consisted of finals, last-minute projects being handed in and several hours of homework. So while it seems that Zoe and Charlie's summer vacations started a week ago, I've been impatiently waiting for Zach's summer to start since the beginning of April because honestly, the kid needs a break. Oh, and I need one too, from:
- The weekly notes that come home advising me that a child in ____'s classroom has strept throat, influenza, pink eye, or my all-time favorite: ring worm.
- Wednesday Envelopes, the communication system that the elementary school uses to send home fundraiser notices, lunch menus, science camp opportunities, registration info for sports, PTO updates and the school newsletter. In other words, the majority of the Wednesday Envelope contents gets chucked directly into the recycling bin.
- The non-stop requests for money to cover the costs for art projects, field trips, class parties, school pictures, athletic fees, and t-shirts.
- Asking "Do you have your snack?" every morning and "How much homework do you have?" every afternoon.
- Getting the following emails: A) Kindergarten is looking for a couple mommies to volunteer; B) According to our records, ____ has a low lunch account balance, so please deposit money at your earliest convenience, like NOW; and C) Kindergarten REALLY needs a couple mommies with some free time that can volunteer.
- Finding out that a kid needs two styrofoam cubes, a bag of marbles, three pieces of brown felt and some maracas -- yesterday.
- Hearing the drama about "so and so said she won't be my friend if I'm friends with Suzie but I like Suzie so why can't I be friends with her that just seems weird and sorta mean," from a kindergartner.
- Huge science projects, group science projects, and the other 15 science projects.
- School drop-off and pick-up and dealing the fact that carpool is apparently defined as "Jody drives."
- Driving to after-school rehearsals for orchestra, before-school rehearsals for choir, and attending three evening concerts for each.
I know that occasionally there will be small reminders of the school year during the summer, like when I use a coupon out of the Happenings Book that I bought for a fundraiser in September or wrap a gift using the paper I bought for the fundraiser in October. And even though retailers are cruel enough to start back-to-school sales at the beginning of August, I love knowing that during the summer months, my kid-related responsibilities are pretty much defined by tennis lessons, swimming at the club, packing a cooler with sandwiches and when I should reapply sunscreen. Of course there will still be laundry to do, a house to clean, a lawn to mow and errands to run, but fortunately there are also popsicles to eat, a sprinkler to run through, burgers to grill and a park to be played on.
Oh, and there's also that fridge full of beer to drink.