School in Session
The moment has come! My husband, The Pool Guy, who devotes himself (almost) entirely to having a happy wife, has consumed enormous amounts of hours and $$ to de-winterizing our backyard swimming pool! (Since “winterize” is a real word, it’s a pity I can’t say “summerize.” But that gets a little complicated. De-winterize will have to do.)
Of course, it would be nice if pool care were truly “finished,” but all who own pools know that sort of fun in the sun has only begun. (Take note, it rhymes) But, no worries for me! It’s his job to clean the pool. Me, I do ….pretty much everything else.
As I look out over the fresh light blue, sparkling water that awaits my tired body, I’m thinking how nice it will be when I can actually dive in at any time of the day. In about 3 weeks. I think I’ll call it Anticipatory Set.
I’m a school teacher, life coach, writer, mother, and a lover of life. As the big Last Day of School rapidly approaches, I confess I found familiarity with Jen Hatmaker, the author of one of the funniest posts I have ever read. Located in Huffingtonpost.com, the article is entitled “Worst End of School Year Mom Ever.”
“We are limping, limping across the finish line, folks.” Hilarious.
The author describes her conscientious mommy efforts back in September, and the grave contrast in the middle of May. She’s listening to her emergent reader offspring sound out w-o-r-d-s for the 688 millionth time. For 9 months she’s been packing lunches, making costumes, checking homework, reading school correspondence. And now she’s only doing it…sorta. She’s pooped!
Like anyone–moms, dads, principals, bus drivers, school teachers, crossing guards–we’re pooped, too! Heck, the students are pooped! It’s that warm spring sunshine pouring into our windows, triggering happy chaos in our heads. It’s not that we don’t adore our children, our students, our jobs. The World has trained us to start stocking up on beach towels right about now. I mean, when that ridiculous Ice-Cream-Man music sallies up and down the lane, don’t your kids start digging into the sofa cushions looking for quarters? It’s like autoplay.
That’s why I was more than a little disturbed that someone could even THINK to make a negative comment at the end of Jen’s article. “All children are valuable,” said the commentor, “and their education matters right up to the end, whether or not their mother is tired.” Basically, she was calling out the author for laughing at herself, for making light of the fact that sending five children off to school on the 167th day of the year has officially been declared Overwhelming.
I felt sad for that mom. The mom that saw no humor in that. I thought, she probably bakes homemade Ding Dongs just so she can slip a little kale in there.
I began to envision that Mama obsessively-compulsively-disorderly writing out a chart scheduling her children’s summer days. Of course she’s right! Not only is every child valuable, but every day is valuable! Is school-attendance-with-shipshape-parents the only way kids can learn?
Something inside me wanted to beckon that lady’s inner child.
If you’re a mom (or dad) who frets about what living things might be growing inside your child’s backpack, take heart! Education does not end on the 180th day of school! Every day is a learning day! Bare-feet-in-the-grass, sleeping bags, cloud shapes, lemondade stands, caterpillars, mud pies, rain dances, treehouses, tide pools… Maybe even a legendary road trip or two! As your children watch you embrace the richness of their world, your spontaneity and adaptability will be forever imprinted. Breathe deeply, Mama,and relax! The end of the school year is a terrific time to anticipate all the other ways to learn. Your child’s mind is swimming with ideas.
Which reminds me…