Thursday, June 5, 2008

Summer...It Turns Me Upside Down

Who else can name the song and musical group I'm referencing?

In my misty recollections of my own elementary school-endings, they were always these lazy, bordering-on-lethargic days that we meandered through for a week or two until we could get to the even more lazy, lethargic days of summer...

Not so with my little 3rd grader. (Sorry, ALMOST 4th grader--he keeps reminding me.)

I recall, of course, the obligatory end-of-the-year Class Trip with the required sack lunch and disposable beverage. I remember (since I've never been able to block it out) the annual Field Day. And who could forget the End of School Party culminating in cupcakes and--oh, joy!--the unmitigated delights of cleaning out our desks for the last time?

Yes, my son is experiencing all of these but--added to it--is a full 2-page LIST of scheduled activities designed to exhaust even the most enthusiastic Room Mother. There was "Amazing You" Day (where everyone had to share a beauty-pageant-esque "talent"). There was "Wacky Facts" Day (where everyone had to arrive at school in possession of a few obscure pieces of information appropriate for the average 9-year-old). There were relentless "Visiting" Days (where troops of 2nd graders invaded the 3rd grade classes, followed by my son's 3rd grade class arriving en masse in the 4th grade wing...). Letters were written. End-of-the-year Class Books were made. Project Portfolios were completed. Class Colors were worn. Yearbooks were signed. And, still, with two days remaining, The List is not finished.

And--here's the frightening part--even when The List IS finished...a new one will begin. There's Summer School. And Vacation Bible Camp. And an insane number of out-of-state trips. And sports stuff. And friend stuff. And pool visits. The last day of school is like the first day of a 3-month-long, hot-weather marathon.

I remember my last day of 3rd grade. I'd really liked my teacher and class that year. We'd had our field trip to the zoo with our picnic lunch the day before. We had our class party with pink-frosting cupcakes on that final Friday. We'd stuffed our backpacks with a whole bunch of writing journals and math notebooks I knew my parents would never look at again. (I actually still have that writing journal.) And my mom picked me up from school and drove us home via the grocery store, where she grabbed some milk, I got a whole Hershey's bar as a treat and then I got to swing on my swingset for hours.

And summer...relaxing summer...started.


Sandra Ferguson said...

See I like your idea of summer -- not the marathon-mania of how much stuff can we cram into 3 months.

Personally, I find nothing wrong with sleeping in, simple (I'm talking where you run through KFC) picnics in the park, and loads of laziness.

It always amazes me when parents have this huge long list of things their kids have to accomplish over the summer. Why? Do we somehow fear they'll turn into bums in 3 short months? That they'll lose every bit of that hard-won knowledge before they go back?

To that I say, bunk.

Kids should come with down-time.

For that matter, parents should come with down-time.

I'm all for reinstating naptime and breaks for snacks of cookies and milk. After all, the really useful learning happens in kindergarten -- why rush a good thing?

Happy summering to you and yours.

L.A. Mitchell said...

I'm already LOVING the staying up late, sleeping in thing. I could go on like this forever.

Marilyn Brant said...

Sandra--you're right about the delights of naptime, cookies, milk...I'm doing my best to embrace laziness and hope to completely regress to a 9-year-old state myself over the next week or two! Happy summer to you as well :).

L.A.--I'm so with you on the sleeping in. I'm a night owl normally, so I'm always up late, but how wonderful not to have to get up early, too.

Brett said...

I love summer! And I love songs by The Cars! ;) I always do what I can to plan down-time into my summers...they are always so jam-packed, hectic, and fun. But it's nice to just lie in the grass or sit outside on a nice evening chatting with friends. I wish we had at least two more months of summer in the midwest. It goes by way too fast!

Pam said...

Ah, I miss summer. Ever since we've moved to Phoenix, summer is deadly heat and the monsoon season. What I wouldn't give for lazy days, those wonderful nights and the promise of rebirth in the fall. Or at least that's how I remember it.

Maybe my song should be Cruel Summer by Bananarama. (More 80s for you, Marilyn!)

Marilyn Brant said...

Brett--I knew you'd recognize a Cars tune! I still think of you every time I hear the Nylons...and Billy Joel.

Pam--ahh! Thanks for reminding me of Bananarama :). You know, the fall has gotten so much shorter. I love fall and spring, but they seem to be only a few weeks each up here now, with these endless months of winter and summer on either side. It goes by too fast.

Lisa Lang said...

I'm laughing out loud at this idyllic vision of summer. Clearly none of you has a two-year-old. My cherubic little six a.m. wakeup call has no respect for late sleepers. And he's started biting his big brothers. Summer (and the disintegration of our comfortable routine) terrifies me. Officially, it starts tomorrow....

Marilyn Brant said...

Hey, Lisa! It's great to see you here :). Yeah, the toddler thing...it's a memory I've tried to repress... Our son was always an early riser, it's just that now he can pour his own cereal and get dressed himself, so it buys us an extra 1/2 hour or more of sleep. Hope it won't be long before you experience this delight :).