Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday Salon: Coming to the end

With the end of the school year looming ahead of us, we are all exhausted here. It's liking knowing the end is in sight has made us extra cranky, extra over-scheduled, and extra tired. And by us, I mean kids and parents both. The run up to the final day of school has me wondering why on earth we just can't cut things off early since it seems terribly unlikely there's any learning of any sort going on in these last few days. Call me a curmudgeon and all but why on earth must we waste days doing field day and parties and the like instead of just finishing up the end of year tests and then being completely finished, sleeping in late and playing outside and splashing in the pool. I mean, the last day (week) of school in old timey books didn't have this useless, whip-the-kids-into-a-frenzy, non-academic time appended to it. Anne of Green Gables took a bouquet of flowers to Miss Stacey and that was that.

I know that harkening back to the halcyon olden days is a complete fallacy, but they are still quite appealing from the vantage of one who has had more and more trouble this past week getting kids out of bed for another worthless day at school. Even worse than the grumpy, whiny, tired kids though, has been this mama who has found that the gerbil wheel she's treading as school finishes seems to go faster and faster. I can't read because of the overwhelming commitments, many of which I volunteer for grudgingly only because of the guilt I feel if I don't. I'd far rather be tucked up with a book as the kids splash in the pool or excavate the yard for earthworms or build lego cities on the rare rainy summer days. Do I love field day? Not at all. (And as a child I would have preferred to be allowed to stay in the library and read rather than participate in invented, quasi-athletic games on some of the hottest days of the school year too.) Do I love end of year parties? Also not at all. How do I feel as I face Miss R.'s 5th grade graduation? As if this is a ridiculous event manufactured at a time when no celebration is necessary. What are all of these kids doing next year? Going to more school. Of course, I also understand that being stroppy about this stuff is completely and totally hypocritical since I still have my award for best reader in 6th grade which was given out at my own 6th grade ceremony yonks ago. (I read 356 books that school year! How impressive is that accomplishment?!) But as much as I kvetch about it, I do attend this stuff, perhaps so that there's one fewer thing for my kids to blame me for at the therapist, and it is a choice I make freely. School events over reading time. Because in the end, I know that this is the end, at least until August. And shortly I'll have plenty of time to settle in with my books and the imaginative worlds and people contained therein. Maybe I'll even revisit Anne Shirley and PEI and the time so long ago now when this craziness around the end of the year didn't exist.

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