With all due respect to T.S. Eliot, April is not the cruelest month. Not by a long shot. No, I would argue the cruelest month is not a calendar month at all, but instead the last four weeks of school, however they spill across your monthly planner.
Oh, I know. Summer break. Hooray for long, endless days of sun and sand and sea, of popsicle juice and lazy afternoons searching for enough shade to read a book. No more packed lunches and pleading with the kids to put their shoes on to get out the door, despite the fact that they have performed the same routine every morning for the last nine months. Yes, summer break has its attractions. It’s just the lead up that makes me cluck around like a maniacal headless chicken. Here are 10 reasons why.
1. Showcase Showdown
I realize you can’t showcase all the new tricks you’ve learned throughout the school year until you’ve actually learned them, but by mid June, I’m all about advocating for semi-cumulative. Let’s have a mid-March art show. How about a late January drama performance? Surely April is a lovely month for those little violinists, no? No??
2. Everything’s NOT awesome
By the beginning of June, my kids are fried. The final push, projects due, 600 performances, dealing with the anxiety of leaving behind beloved teachers (my first grader) or moving up to middle school (my fifth grader). Last this, final that, end-of-these, closing those. There are daily tears, meltdowns and foot stomping. And that’s just me.
3. No More Pencils, No More Books
My kids didn’t have any homework until the last month of school. At least that’s how it seems. Just when it feels like it should be slowing down, the stakes get higher, the work tougher. Cue tears….now.
4. Happy Birthday to You. And You. And YOU and YOU and YOU.
I’m not sure if this is an expat thing but the last month of school is back-to-back birthday parties for kids who had the misfortune to be born during the summer hols. Now, I’m not begrudging these kids the opportunity to have a party with their friends…but I’ve heard September is a lovely month to celebrate….
5. School’s out for summer: Hooray??
I’m not earning a paycheck at the moment, but I’m trying to. None of it’s going to happen between mid June and mid August when school is out. Which means the ante to get as much as done during the last month of school gets upped. Which leads to more stress, more shouting, more meltdowns. Cue meltdowns…now.
6. We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming
Between the April break and the end of the school year, my kids had 2 full weeks of school. TWO.
Volunteers needed! Baked goods needed! We need your help! End of year this, the last day that, the leaving this. It’s the one time of year I miss working, simply for the excused absence.
8. I don’t have anything to wear!
Their pants are too short, the shoes are falling apart, gym shoes need replacing. I tape them together and pray they hold out for the last few PE sessions knowing if I buy new ones now, they won’t fit by the time school starts again.
9. Military Planning
Summer isn’t about long, lazy days any more. Summer is camps, sports clinics, scheduling. You spend hours and dollars and the last four weeks of school planning how to occupy those long eight weeks ahead, plotting the best way to keep your family intact without any charges of grievous bodily harm brought. All the while knowing that you’ll end up letting them spend way to much on the iPad anyway.
10. Only 190 Shopping Days Until Christmas
That mid-August start date can’t come fast enough. Just in time to start the countdown to Christmas.
As we head into the final few days of the school year, you may see me clucking my way around the schoolyard, pecking at the crumbs of my sanity, squawking, “are we there yet??”
Just tell me where I should drop my cookie contribution and where the sign ups are for camp and I should be ok.