Hello, my name is Anne, and I am a lame end-of-the-school-year parent.
It always happens at the end of April. The sun starts to shine more, the temperature goes up and thoughts of “What fun things are we going to do this summer?” creep into our minds while waiting for hours in the school carpool line.
Buried in School Paperwork
By May 1, my attitude toward everything related to school gets sadly apathetic. I have grown weary of dirty backpacks, papers, worksheets, homework folders, science projects, forms to sign, end-of-the-year parties, concerts to find black pants for and the never-ending donation requests. At this point in the year, I’ve learned my 46-year-old brain’s full capacity on the purpose of a cell wall, the Amendments to the Constitution (no offense, Founding Fathers) and how to do anything with fractions.
Last September, I was a stellar school parent! I actually read the entire back-to-school packet of information sent during the summer. I made sure all forms and approvals and sports physicals were signed, sealed and delivered to the correct people and places. All lunch accounts were fully funded and everyone had OJ, milk, a banana and a waffle for breakfast before they headed out the door. I read the school bulletin every day and regularly checked grades online like a good helicopter parent.
Somehow, by the final month of school, we lose our stamina for these things. As a preschool parent, I remember panicking this time of year knowing that soon I wouldn’t be able to drop my busy little urchins off to their loving teachers who would keep their minds busy for 3.5 hours every day. Elementary school parents are exhausted from enduring nine months of sounding out every word with their new reader, attempting to explain their child’s science fair project to them so that they actually understand it, and the never-ending mounds of worksheets and papers.
Dear Moms of Little Ones, It Gets Better!
As a mom of teens, I can offer a little hope to my younger counterparts. Gone are the worksheets, school parties and parent lunches. Instead, I am focused on figuring out how to keep my teens busy this summer so they don’t sleep 15 hours a day, rot in their rooms or grow a new appendage in the shape of an iPhone. We are frantically signing up for volunteer opportunities and camps and looking for part-time jobs.
I harp on my kids to finish strong and to not get lazy by relaxing their study habits those important last three weeks of school. There is nothing that makes steam spout from my ears more than having a child end the semester with an 89 percent in a class. (It has happened, and when I suggested talking to the teacher about doing some sort of extra credit to earn one measly percent, my offspring looked at me as if I was speaking Russian.)
Bless the Teachers
This time of year, my heart goes out to teachers. They deal with piles of papers every day, and I know many take those piles home at night and on the weekends. I’m sure by the end of the year, they are sick of dealing with behavior issues, cell phones in class, crazy parents and the smell of fifth graders after a 20-minute recess.
God bless these teachers that choose to spend every day around masses of little people. They make sure my kids’ brains are challenged and growing and occupied with all things one must learn because it just needs to be learned. They give them deadlines and responsibilities and require them to retain what they have been taught.
I am sure teachers suffer from the same summer-is-only-a-few-weeks-away syndrome as we parents, but they are better at hiding it and being a professional that pushes through to end strong.
If these teachers can make it to the last day of school without giving up and if my kids can stay focused for a few more weeks as they head into finals, surely I, as a lowly parent, can do more than limp across the school finish line. If you suffer from a similar end-of-the-year apathy, join me in taking a deep breath and forging on to the sunshine and swimming pool at the end of the tunnel.
Just remember… in a few short weeks, your children will be home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They will always be hungry and bored. You will have to turn your home into a grocery store and become the screen-time probation officer. There will come a point at the beginning of August when you will long for those backpacks and pray for a form to sign.
K-12 & Teens
Most of my mornings, afternoons, and evenings are spent driving the kids here and there—and then back to here again. Every child is a gift on loan from God. As parents, our job is to raise that child to be an independent adult who can contribute to the world using the gifts and talents he or she was given. It is hands-down the most important job on earth!