School is OUT! I fondly remember, as a child, waiting anxiously for this day to come, and revelling in the ten (or was it twelve?) weeks of summer. Summer, in my case, was summer camp, at the local YMCA. This was in California, and so I spent every day in the pool, if we weren’t going to Disneyland, Magic Mountain, Knot’s Berry Farm, or into the mountains to hike. Every summer I got a wicked burn, then a wicked tan (for those who know me today: yes, it is possible. I have proof.) At the end of camp in 4th grade I broke my arm skateboarding, at the end of camp in 6th grade I had a “boyfriend”. We held hands.
School seemed an interminable period of judgement, testing, studying, and BORING things. Fun fact: I like learning now, I did NOT like learning then. I have dozens of saved report cards from my formative years informing my parents that “Bobbie could do so much better if she just applied herself.”
When I hit 28, I was in full-on baby-mania. Actually, that’s not quite accurate, I was in “have a kid, change my life” mania. It wasn’t just the “baby” I wanted; I wanted the 9-year-old telling me he forgot he needs to bring 2 dozen cupcakes (the morning he needs to bring them). I wanted the cramming for the SAT’s, and the first trip to Disneyland, and reading books goodnight. And I felt sure that when I had a child, what with my academic-leaning parents, I too would become an academic-leaning parent and come to see the value of school.
It is therefore with a mixture of embarrassment and wonder that I report that while I do truly cherish the value of school, and I am that academic parent (that was me, putting my kid in tutoring), I also could not wait for summer. Because it meant a reprieve.
A reprieve from parent-teacher conferences, from enforcing homework revisions, from watching the frustration on his face when he didn’t get a concept or (in the long tradition of my family line) didn’t get it exactly perfect the first time. (He carries that trait to everything, skateboarding and electric guitar have been recent lessons in “no one is perfect the first time”). It’s a reprieve from emails from the teacher, from looking for lost hoodies in the Lost and Found, from waiting for the June Box (items taken by the teacher go into a box and are retrieved… in June), from nights filled with homework, projects, and the dutiful requirements of school.
By the time the end of August rolls around I will revert to the feelings of my youth and delight in back-to-school shopping, even if my son doesn’t. I will feel re-invigorated and redouble my PTA efforts, all the more excited as this is our last grade school year (and I’m chairing the Science Fair). I will be all excited again. And the boy… the boy will have had ten weeks of fun, and sun; he will have a wicked tan (bless his Father for giving him better skin than I had, the kid does not burn). Even he will be looking forward to school and seeing his friends on a more regular basis, if not the excitement that being a 5th grader (and therefore, top of the heap) brings.
But here we are excited and grateful, officially, for summer.