The bell tolled at exactly 1:00 PM. My kids are home now. For the entire summer. Until August 25.
I’m still not sure how I feel about this.
Even so, we picked them up (it has poured here since they left this morning!) and made a quick celebratory trip to a McDonald’s drive-through window. The Happy Meals have been eaten, the two littlest are napping, and the two oldest are watching an episode of “Phineas and Ferb” on television. So far, so good.
What I am waiting for (with nervous apprehension) are the inevitable power struggles that will happen between older and younger siblings. Hannah has been used to being in charge, and now there are two older kids who will put her in her place. I remember last summer, where every morning started with tears, tantrums and tirades, and they continued well into the day. I dealt with that for at least a month, until we all settled back into the summer routine. (Pecking order. Whatever.)
For the next three days, everyone is taking a “vacation” from responsibility. Except Mom, of course. And Dad… he still has to go to work. But the kids in my house can sleep in, play video games, watch movies and skip their chores until Monday morning, when we start our annual FlyLady “camp” and the summer routines are formed. (One year I never really got around to setting routines, so their entire summer break was a vacation from responsibility. And reality. Was that last year? *snicker* No wonder we had problems.)
Anyway, I wanted to tie this post into the NaBloPoMo “home” theme. Since school is my kids’ home away from home for a good share of the year, it’s always a little upsetting for them to get to the end of the school year. In the past we’ve had tears (okay, so they were mostly mine), we’ve played “school”, and we’ve written letters and drawn pictures for their “old” teachers. (What is it with kids and the word “old”? No matter how many times I try to model the usage of “former”, they still revert to “old”.) It really makes me appreciate the wonderful teachers they’ve had when I see my kids reenact their school days in front of our white board. I wonder if Mrs. Hoffmann would be flattered to hear that for an entire summer, Kendra wrote “Mrs. H” as the name on all her papers. I think Mrs. Sperry would love to know that both kids write and illustrate their own picture books, and they still beg to play with the envelope of math games she sent home at the beginning of first grade. Or if Mrs. McAdams would grin to know that three objects get drawn in the corner of the white board every morning for Hannah and Anthony to “earn” or “lose”, based on their behavior. I’m sure Mrs. McCann would be relieved to know that there was one kid who “got” a good share of her jokes, even if he was too shy to laugh at them in class. Alex ALWAYS came home and told me what funny things she said, and how she’d comment that her humor was wasted on third graders.
(I have to stop. Here come my tears. I have never been good with the last day of school; not as a student, a teacher, OR a parent. When I was a kid, I choked back my tears all the way home from school, and then I would hug my mom and go directly to her bedroom to hide by her sewing machine and cry my eyes out. As a teacher, I always cried when I hugged my students for the last time. And as a parent, it’s especially hard to say goodbye to a person who’s had so much impact on your children. Gaah! The lump in my throat is so big I can hardly swallow! Breathe, Kemi. Breathe!)
***** Kleenex break *****
There were fewer tears this year than I expected (except for me!), so it makes me wonder if they fully grasp the finality of second and third grade. Summer sort of crept up on all of us this year (I SWEAR, it was just February!), so maybe that’s it. I think that sleeping in tomorrow will be fun for them, but by Friday the novelty will have worn off and reality will begin to sink in. As I drove Alex to his friend’s house a few minutes ago, we discussed his last day of third grade. I asked him if he hugged his teacher goodbye. He said yes, and then he shyly said, “She told me, ‘Alex, I love you. She only said that to some of the kids.'” His voice cracked at the end, but there was no way I was turning to look at him. My eyes were instantly full of tears, and I was afraid we’d just set each other off.
Kendra told me how exhausting and looooong her day at school was. It was hilarious for two reasons: 1) they got out an entire hour earlier than they do on Fridays, their regular “short day”, and 2) other than a talent show and autograph book signings, they did absolutely nothing. Not one thing academic. My funny girl… maybe it affected her more than I realized. Maybe her way of coping is playing school EVERY. SINGLE. WAKING. MINUTE of the day. Either that, or she’s gonna be one heck of an experienced teacher when she grows up and goes off to college.
It’s going to be a great summer. I wonder how many games of “school” we’ll play?
Bring ’em on. I can hardly wait!