I can not believe I’m going to say this, but, I’m ready for the school year to end. I know. I’m worried I was abducted by aliens and replaced with a cyborg, too.
As someone who believes snow days are a personal affront to my sanity; as someone who responds to people who choose to homeschool their children with, “dear God, why would you do that to yourself?”; as someone who has considered instituting a ritual wherein I meet the first day of school bus wearing nothing but body paint and a smile while dousing my head with champagne and pounding on freedom drums; I, Heather Shuker, am looking forward to the last day of school.
It’s not that I’m looking forward to the long days of summer, mind you. Much as I love me some warm weather and sunshine, when my children are home with me all day for weeks on end there is an ongoing and brutal electronics war that I invariably lose. This mostly consists of my own internal battle between trying to be a good parent and wanting some freaking peace.
It goes something like this:
ME: Sweet, precious, small people, because I want your brains to be nourished with the fruit of the natural world, please, spend your days outside soaking in the glories of nature.
MY KIDS: It’s hot.
ME: Darlings, I understand the weather can be uncomfortable, therefore, how about you improve your minds with thought provoking literature that transcends time.
MY KIDS: How long do I have to read before I can go on electronics?
ME: Dear ones, build your unity, interpersonal connectedness, and problem solving skills by playing board games or Legos with each other.
MY KIDS: Will you play with us?
ME: Hell no.
Then, in an attempt to boldly follow the endless articles touting the importance of limiting screen time, I just take the electronics away and deal with the consequences....
After several days of whining, fighting, complaining, complete destruction of my house, nagging, and unquenchable hungers, I relent. Much like throwing steaks toward a pack of hungry wolves in an effort to keep them from annihilating you, I throw their electronics at them and run for cover.
Now, I ask you, who has the Herculean strength to consistently choose “enrichment activities” over electronics all freaking summer? Well, good for those people. I’ve only got a few good fights in me a week. The rest of the time I just throw the guilt onto the pile of all of the other things that make me an imperfect parent. (It's not a small pile.)
Why am I looking forward to the end of the school year, then, you ask? Well, for those of us who have less than perfect children (*gasp*! Am I allowed to admit that?) the school year can be a gruesomely long game of "oh god, what did he do now?" every time a teacher e-mails, calls, or sends home a note.
Which isn’t to say I don’t love me some teachers. If any of you blessed angels are reading this, thank you one billion times for having the patience to teach my children and all of those other knucklehead children I see out in the world. (Not your children, dear reader, yours are perfect.) I am forever in your debt for teaching my kids to read and write and do math things.
I know it’s not easy. I once tried to spend the summer improving my kids’ handwriting. I got the special paper. I looked up all these inspirational quotes for them to practice writing. I printed out letter forming guides. I even sat with them to work on my own handwriting.
Well, you would think I was asking them to write their names in blood, Umbridge-style. There was wailing. There was crying in the streets. There was mass hysteria. Every single time I tried it, I ended up sending someone to his or her room and pencils were thrown by at least one of us. So, yeah, 180 days of trying to shove knowledge into these animals? Y’all deserve metals.
But, I need a break. A break from homework, a break from catching the school bus, a break from lunch packing debris all over my kitchen every morning, a break from the relentless schedule of who needs to be where when, a break from worrying about grades, a break from the downpour of papers, and, most of all, a break from, "do you know what your kid did?". No, but I can't wait for you to tell me.
Just, everybody, SHH. Pause. Regroup. And, come fall, we can do it again with a clean slate and a fresh bottle of champagne.
I like to throw things.