Ode to the School Year; Saying Good Riddance and What's Next

Dear Mr. School Year…Buh-bye,

Can we please get through the end of you, already? SHEEEEEEEEEEEESH.

and to You, Miss Summer…Hold your horses.

I have it on good authority that I’m not alone in this sentiment Please quietly whisper “amen” if you agree.

Because...

We are done. Cooked. Crispy.

I haven’t looked at a Friday folder since Spring Break. We’re throwing every tail end of every box of crackers and withered grape cluster in lunches. We’re offering buttermilk in place of milk in cereal that they’re pouring themselves. We’re shuffling our way through the dog hair toward the car every morning. The kids are signing their own permission slips. They're telling their teachers we can't drive for the last-minute field trip (and didn't even need to ask us first...they just knew). We're piecing together parts of uniforms with tattered hems and holes – barely even modest at this point. Mom and dad are half-heartedly AT BEST asking how to help with homework or final exam fact drilling. We’re tired of Ground-Hogs’-Day-ing it through the same drive, the same alarm clock, the same same same of the weekday grind.

 

These are the fresh faces of my kids over 5 years ago on the 1st day of school. 180 days after this pic I can assure you none of us looked this put-together.  #jesustakethewheel

These are the fresh faces of my kids over 5 years ago on the 1st day of school. 180 days after this pic I can assure you none of us looked this put-together.  #jesustakethewheel

Let’s clink a glass to just barely eeking our way through the 2014-2015 school year, shall we? We’ve. Almost. Done. It. We’re close to the end.

But wait. Isn’t this really just the beginning?

…Of 80-plus days of free time? It’s like the school grind just gets swapped for the summer grind. Do you feel me?

10 weeks of:

* Do we swim? *Should we hike? * Where is sunscreen the cheapest? * Is (insert instrument or institution here) camp too expensive this year? * How do I manipulate my kids to read more (chick-fil-a coupons and shot-glass sized free Frosty's aren’t cutting it anymore) * What if I have the nerve to work this summer? * What in the world will they do to pass the time if I’m not “managing” it for them? *

Yep, 80ish days of that.

Are you ready for that, friends?

So we’re at a crossroads, would you agree?

Say goodbye to the school year (HALLELUJAH) and say hello to the summer (JESUS I SURRENDER).

Clearly this was one of the pinnacles of our summer. while jack holds her "ears," Audrey's look says "mom, you've run out of ideas for the summer and it's only June 2nd."

Clearly this was one of the pinnacles of our summer. while jack holds her "ears," Audrey's look says "mom, you've run out of ideas for the summer and it's only June 2nd."

So maybe it’s time for a shift in perspective.

If we’re between one thing and another – both with their own sets of challenges – maybe we could

BE FREE.

What if freedom from “the list” for the day released us from obligation? What if the checklist took a hiatus for all things unshackled?

Could I be free? Could I enjoy the quiet? Could I wave the white flag of surrender and actually treasure this new season?

Here’s my theory:

If I rid myself of the shoulds and oughts of “a busy summer”…..I win.

When my to-do list goes from action to presence, I’ll claim victory when the school year begins again. Really sitting in the “NOW” of time with my Bible in my lap and a kiddo to catch-up with nearby…now that has potential to be pretty sweet.

And I’m hoping for some strategic perspective from my dad. He’s been in heaven for over a year now and I keep asking myself questions that could be perspective-shifters like:

What would my dad have done differently in his life if he knew he were dying? Would he have made sure to finish the to-do list hastily scrawled on the inside of his checkbook? Would he have worked out again for the 7th time this week? Would he still be hand-watering the brown grass, weeding the petunia bed to perfection? Would he drive farther to get the on-sale-more groceries? 

Or would he have had another glass of wine? Would he have perched himself on the deck looking at the mountains a little longer? Would he have gone to bed later, preferring to visit longer after dinner? Would he have changed his pattern? Or was he too afraid to live outside of the pattern?

...and I'm asking myself these same questions. 

caught my parents enjoying themselves at my cousin dan's wedding a few years ago. This is what i call the "wait for it, I'm about to make you laugh with my sarcasm" smile. summers need more moments like this.

caught my parents enjoying themselves at my cousin dan's wedding a few years ago. This is what i call the "wait for it, I'm about to make you laugh with my sarcasm" smile. summers need more moments like this.

So I sit here contemplating freedom. True freedom feels like a risk to me. A challenge to let go. But it's risk worth taking as summer commences…

Maybe truly living means examining life half-lived. I'm thinking of taking stock, and taking the plunge into the NOW of this life right here. 

After trying and failing to describe this to my friend Dale, she gave me a poem about "Presence" that seemed to SAY the THING I am FEELING:

"May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.
May anxiety never linger about you.
May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul."
-John O'Donohue in To Bless the Space Between Us

I’m in for whatever that looks like. You? What’s your plan this summer?

Holly's Take:

So funny, because it's so true!  I hate to complain one more time, but just a couple weeks ago, my kids' school announced that school is ending a week early!!!!  I can't stop having a bad and bitter attitude about this.  It's not supposed to be summer break yet!  Today is their LAST full day of school until after Labor Day!!  We can't be in state compliance!!!  OK - I've got to stop and reread the second half.  I've got to just think about being present . . . in the midst of planning the wedding, getting married, blending families, tennis lessons, gymnastics, swimming lessons.  Wait! I'm getting carried away again.  This summer is looking way too long and way to nuts, but to aim for just being present . . . I think I can do that.  At least, once in a while. 

Megan's Take:

Oh my, lands! I am seriously laughing out loud and shedding a tear all at the same time. Changes in seasons ALWAYS send me into a bit of a tailspin. Just ask my husband, he'd contribute a hearty "AMEN." To be honest, I kind of "play along" when other moms say the "can't wait for summer!" Yeah, me too. (???) I can't WAIT for my sweet little cherubs to be around each one another 24/7 -- their constant bickering is like music to my ears. Somehow it feels easier to live (you might read "hide") behind the busyness of the school year because I can manage busy. There's always one more thing to do or another event to head off to.... But summer?  So much freedom kind of overwhelms me. And what about spare time to write and exercise? But I agree with you -- if I can shift my perspective and look at the freedom of summer as something to be cherished and absorbed, well, there may just be a little light in this tunnel after all. (I especially like the part about "another glass of wine" and "long visits after dinner." Yep. I'm in for that!!)