Some of us calendar-challenged types are sucking air right about now. We can see the finish line; we can taste the lazy-summer-afternoon-lemonade-stand drink, we can hear the “I’m bored”s … and we can’t wait. School is almost over.
In what realm four different schools for our five children ever made sense, I will never know. And, though the end is near, it has not quite arrived. So here are a 15 tips from my End of the School Year Survival Guide with a few applications from last week. If your school is already out, maybe some of the tips might help in other stick-a-fork-in-me-I’m-SO-done situations.
1. Keep essential tools close at hand, especially needle & thread or duck tape. Because you never know when a kid might come downstairs minutes before we have to be out the door and in the car missing all but 2 buttons on his shirt (How has he been wearing that thing?!) or when the front cover of your washing machine might decide to fall off.
2. Like the items that fall out of your car at pick-up and drop-off, Roll With It. When you’re getting your youngest son’s hair cut, so it will look nice for the end of the year, and the SuperCuts lady has to stop because “He’s got lice” – just roll with it. So what if he’s your youngest child and you’ve lived through a collective 35 years of school (you, know counting each kid) without that fun revelation. In the spirit of the water bottle, and other trash, that fell out of the car earlier that day, Roll With It. There’s only a week left. Lice opportunities are about to take a break. And when you see an email message from you bank that reads: “Unusual Debit Card Activity” and when you realize that the reason you can’t find your purse is because it has been stolen by someone living high on the hog at the DART station and Walmart, roll with it. That drivers license picture was horrible anyway, and cards can be replaced. Thank goodness we live in a time where fraud protection exists!
[Lice update: Apparently, the school had checked all the kids the day before. Jack didn’t have it then, so thankfully it was caught early and no one else got it. The episode wasn’t nearly as bad as I imagined it would be, which I’m sure has a much larger lesson attached – even though my head itches just thinking about it!]
3. Activate the parachute, some situations actually need saving. Especially on those evenings when one of the kids announces that a project, never before mentioned, is due the next day. Yeah, that and “oh, I need a costume, for tomorrow, too.” Love the kid. Remember, his brain is as fried as yours and that he’s ready for summer, just like you.
4. Go with the spirit of the law, rather than the letter. Yes, the kid should do his own project. He has solo done his work all year, so a little help won’t hurt. Especially when it’s a
chocolate-covered Rice Krispie Treat Trojan Horse.100% his idea, 50% made by sisters with and a little help from Mom.
5. Be ready to back up and let someone go before you – even (maybe especially) when shoo’d by the driver you’re letting go first. Yes, a lady shoo’d me at the end of our crowded street last week, motioning me to back up so she could get through. I’ve never in my life been shoo’d. My girls kept it real by reminding me to be kind. I wanted to give her a piece of my mind as she drove past; but she wouldn’t roll down her window. Good thing – I have no mind to give.
6. Be ready to apologize. “I’m sorry I was kind of rude to the shoo-ing lady. I’m sure she’s had a rough day and probably needed to get somewhere fast,” I told my girls. Emotions can run high in a stressful day, just be sure to follow a flub with a genuine mea culpa.
7. Boy Scout it and be prepared. Plan ahead, knowing that the days are full with limited flexibility.
- Put a few things in the freezer that can be pulled for dinner.
- Know that high stress can produce sensitive moods – a.k.a the brood might be extra sensitive, shore up some extra patience.
- Get geared for the mental gymnastics involved in managing ultra-crazy schedules
8. Wear lose-fitting clothes – or whatever makes you feel good about yourself. The last thing you need during end-of-the-year craziness is feelings of self-doubt creeping in because an outfit is tight when it should be loose.
9. Steer clear of comparison – especially as summer plans are discussed. Maybe, like me, you’re a bit behind the 8-ball signing up for camps. Maybe your vacation plans are limited to the metro area. But, some of the best memories are made at home in the midst of stir crazy. So, don’t bite when tempted to wish: you were going to the beach, you had a house in the mountains, you could revolving door invite friends to your lake place, you had tickets to the World Cup. And, in the school halls, remember that teachers are genuinely happy with any gift. Plus, remember that the kids’ projects are perfect in all of their globby glory. People care more about their own child’s project than yours; so no one but you is looking at the glob. Bask in it.
10. In the spirit of Frozen, let it go. No worries that you arrived at carpool early, sat for 25 minutes waiting for school to dismiss, drove up to the cone only to not see your child because he has a standing commitment after school on that day – let it go. Who cares if you cut watermelon for the fun end of the year swim party that is actually this week, not last. Let it go. And what difference does it make that a daughter and her friend left their wet clothes from last weekend’s road trip under the seat in the car for a week … let it go.
Just don’t open it … especially with the windows up!
10. Think chocolate … and act on it, but only in small doses.
11. Laugh … a lot … and loud,
sometimes after screaming (darn that girl and her fake roaches!). Just laugh often.
11. Rather than vent to your friend over the phone about all the craziness, take it to the streets and catch up over a nice walk.
12. SAVOR … whatever you do, don’t let hectic steal any of the moment. Take time to savor each kid in each of their moments. Turn around and catch sight of the one who has learned to tie his own shoes. Maybe think back to the days when tying shoes was a grand achievement for your older kids. And remember, the time isn’t coming back, so make the most of today.
13. Don’t sweat, notice the small stuff. This could actually be the LAST of weekly (and then some) trips to the pump. Yipeee!
14. Breathe. Open your eyes to see the world around you. When you feel like everything is closing in, go outside for a moment, notice the flowers blooming, the birds singing, Seems silly, but such sights and sounds offer serenity … and a reminder. In the grand scheme of things, those living life around you are what actually matter. Plus, even though it might not feel like it in the moment – everything will actually get done.
15. Enjoy the fruits of your – okay, your kids’ labor.
They just might taste better than you could imagine.
Thanks for walking the road with me.