I finally lost my mind last night. I threw out my first grader’s homework. I didn’t mean to, it just happened. It’s been happening a lot lately. It’s the third time I’ve misplaced or thrown out my children’s assignments. I think it’s subliminal. I think my subconscious is finally telling me to pack it in and call it a school year. It’s been ten long months of hard work. Ten long months of helping with homework assignments, math projects, science experiments, creative essays, book reports and, my favorite, arts and craft. Ten long months of finding glue bits stuck in my hair, deep paper cuts on my fingers, and strips of construction paper tucked in the corner of my kitchen floor. Ten long months of balancing my work schedule with my kid’s school schedule and after-school activities that seem to go on and on until the wee hours of the night. Ten long months of snack duty and field trips and Christmas pageants and lunch boxes and attempts at healthy and nutritious meals. . . you get the picture. It’s gotten so bad that I even wrote a long ranting letter to my son’s teacher to stop, for the love of God, the madness! She must have thought I was a raving lunatic, but the truth of the matter is my kids have already mentally checked out and so have I.
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my children and to see them grow into such lovely young adults is so gratifying. I so appreciate their teachers and all they do to make them productive members of our society. I love the school they are in, the friends that they have made, and the colorful and bright hallway walls decorated with crayon-drawn pictures and neat cursive essays about Abraham Lincoln. But I need this school year to “officially” be over . . . seriously . . . or I might have to check myself into a psychiatric ward.
I know I’ll regret this at the beginning of August when you’ll find me slumped over the kitchen sink pulling my hair out as I hear my kids tell me, for the fifteen time, that they are bored and have nothing to do. I know I’ll be longing for the crisp fall mornings when I happily see them off to school so that I can enjoy my first cup of coffee in peace and solitude. I know I’ll soon be crossing off the days on the calendar (in red ink) as we inch closer to the first day of the new school year with longing, just like I would eye a chocolate candy bar two weeks into a diet. I know I’ll crave the structure of a five-day school week and look forward to the eight hours in a day when I am given the gift of uninterrupted time to clean, to work, to go to the post office, to take a shower without someone shouting a question from the other side of the door.
But, for right now, I don’t want any of that. For right now, I’m counting down the days, hours, seconds until it’s all over. Like a bad break up, I need time and space to miss the school year. I’m ready for you summer! I’m ready for the lounging at poolside. I’m ready for barbecues and weekday getaways. I’m ready to watch movies with my kids until late in the evening without worrying about getting up early the next day. And I’m soooo ready for the backpacks to be put away . . . even if I know it will only last for about a minute . . .