This is the last full week of school for my kids. I remember the emotions from this time so well from my own school years and it is repeated with them. Every day seems sooooo long and this week cannot end fast enough.... cause when you are a kid that means 2 months of summer fun.
It is always bittersweet especially this year in my house. Our town is on what is known as a Princeton plan which means pretty much every 2 years of elementary schools move to a different school. So 1st and 2nd grade which were in one school now loses 2nd graders, my youngest, to the next school in the process for 3rd and 4th grade. Since my kids are 2 1/2 years apart as one enters a school the next one exits so they will not be in same one until 6th and 8th and high school. This causes some stress for the parents in this town but the kids love the adventure of it from what I can see. This allows for class size to be set and also for children who are young not to be in same school with older kids. It works.
Yet for my 4th grader - who is turning 10 !!! this week that double digit still knocks me out how did my first born become this man in training? I love him to pieces and I love the more evolved conversations we are having but a bit of me still remembers with a smile that first night in the hospital when I held his little body and was just amazed at the love that was happening. Back to him cause that was all about me. My guy has been with same class and teacher for 3rd and 4th grade so a bit in him is wondering what a new classroom will be like- time to make some newer friends, though he told me "I am pretty popular so I think I got it covered". Time to go to a school where I learned during the orientation, love the Principal, that so much more is understandably expected of them.
Both my kids are just burstin' though to get this week over with, then 2 days next week and vaca here they come. I remember this time like it was yesterday - though it was last millennium (no really it was in the 20th century). I remember getting to school and spending a lot of time looking out the window thinking of what summer plans would be like. School work pretty much stopped right about now and restlessness sank in. We did not have air conditioning and some times in high school if there were stockings on, prep school dress code, man did they stick. I remember all of us talking and planning how we were going to keep in touch as our parents planned trips to home countries in Europe for some of us, family vacations for others and the promise of long days doing nothing on the streets of Astoria which for some reason held real appeal. My kids look forward to seeing their camp friends from neighboring towns, going to the beach weekends and the family vacations during the summer.
The days when it got dark later and so you could stay out longer, come home when street lights come on, Mr. Softee magic song pulling us toward the truck. There were of course the days to come where boys from school crushes were to be replaced with the boys of summer. I remember one year going away with my friend and her family, 2 only children who often benefited from each other's company as her parents took me along, to Virginia Beach. It was pre-high school and we were in a rental that was attached to another house where for the first few days was another family with 3 kids. Two were about our age, a sister and brother, but the older one - I still remember his straight brown hair falling across blue eyes. No I do not remember his name but I do know the younger siblings told us he was annoying 'cause he missed his girlfriend back home. At some point he and I started talking - if you ever met me you know I can make anyone talk. We played badminton and when the butterfly went over the neighbor's fence and we ran to get it and he kissed me. I remember that so well - I blushed, it was an innocent kiss on the lips and it happened once more before we ran back flushed. They left the next day. It is added to the treasure trove of summer memories I have.
The innocence of that time when school relationships seemed so tenuous, where you felt that if went away the world you were leaving behind would suddenly break out into a Grease like extravaganza that you would miss .. it never did your vacation was always more interesting. That last week of school felt months long for that sweet smell of summer and lazy days full of no uniforms, no homework, beach (including tar beach for us city kids), public pools and long days of tag in the streets or just plain hanging out enjoying every moment. That last week was long but the last week before you were due to go back was short - it was full of promise to go back to school, tanned, happy, ready to talk to the people who you had not seen as well as to the people you spent days and then hours stretching that phone cord talking to even after just leaving them from a day's worth of hanging out. Ahh those were the days.
I mentioned Grease before and nothing says summer like Grease - I saw it at least 20 times the summer it came out and think we all hoped for a Danny Zucko romance and a chance to wear those sexy black pants " Tell me about it stud"- put cigarette out with very cool shoes... ahh sigh. So as the kids drag through this week think back on your weeks before summer vacation - the pleasure of all those weeks off and most of all the notion that time was languid not hurried like it is as adults....
School's out for summer ... Alice Cooper