Author’s note: This post pays homage to, but in no means attempts to replicate the greatness of, Worst End of School Year Mom Ever by Jen Hatmaker. Jen, if you’re reading this, please move to San Antonio and be my best friend. Also, I love you.
We’re finally into the end of the school year countdown. I know this because there is a yellow calendar on my refrigerator that says “End of Year Countdown!” complete with 26 theme days that lead up to the last day of school. Twenty-six. Theme days. The yellow calendar is right next to the flier for talent show auditions, the bike rodeo flier, and the information about the special Mother’s Day event that all take place in this same 26 day time frame. That’s in addition to Teacher Appreciation Week and End of the Year parties.
At least in my corner of town, there’s a collective feeling of being over it. The poor, sweet teachers are so tired. They’ve survived the STAAR test, field trips, and spelling tests. They’re done. The kids are done. Below is an actual, not exaggerated timeline of our Friday morning (keep in mind that this is for my very well-adjusted first-grader who adores school):
7:00: First attempt at wake-up. Child keeps snoring.
7:02: I open blinds, remove blankets, and sing.
7:04: She sighs dramatically and literally slides from her bed onto the floor. She lifts her hands over her head, and I dress her like a baby, even though she’s seven, in her Day 13 theme day outfit.
7:16: Upon finishing two bowls of oatmeal, she asks for a third. I inform her that we have not budgeted enough time for a seven-course feast and suggest she brush her hair and teeth.
7:22: I peek in the bathroom and find her staring blankly into the mirror with dirty teeth and tangled hair. She blinks and looks at me as if to say, “Who are you? How did I get here?”
7:27: I grab my youngest, still in her nightgown, and throw on some sandals with my yoga pants and sweaty hair (because I’ve stopped budgeting enough time to run AND take a shower before school), and we finally leave the house.
It helps me to know that other families are feeling just as overwhelmed as I am. I see it in the eyes of the other moms at the Mother’s Day event, which I showed up for 20 minutes late and in sweaty workout clothes because I forgot that I teach a class at that time. (Yes, I forgot. About my actual job.) We all have a glazed-over look of bewilderment. “This costs how much? And I pay who? And which letter theme day is tomorrow? And I was supposed to do what for Teacher Appreciation yesterday?” I see it in the faces of the parents at school drop-off, where we all arrive later and later every day. Even the secretaries smile and wave us by after the tardy bell rings. They, too, are tired of our excuses for being late. When I signed my first-grader out of school after the Mother’s Day event, under “reason” I wrote “done.” Because we are just done. All of us.
My proposal for the end of the year is that we just embrace it. Teachers, feel free to have math centers and recess all day. Let the kids color and play hide and seek. We don’t care. If the end-of-the-year theme days could be more like “smile day” and “brush your teeth this morning day,” we would all be happy.
Congratulations, we’ve survived another school year! Now let’s put our heads down and get through the next two weeks.