There’s something that happens at the end of the year to parents of school-age children, or at least to some of us. Ok, maybe only to me. I can see the end of school on the calendar and my stomach starts to make that awful, audible churning sound, my breath shortens and the room starts to slowly move in circles around my head. I know I have days left to finish all the work I want to before the kids are home, not to mention the mountainous list of summer-related errands. And then the emails start coming. As you may know, today everyone graduates. From just about everything. And nothing says time suck like a school play or performance (taking time out of my day to watch my kids act out is something of a cruel joke), so why not throw in a couple of those. But even I admit there’s a sweetness to those events, despite the labor-camp chairs we have to sit on or fighting to the death for a parking spot at school (lady who thieved my spot last week: I know where you live).
But then the field trip emails trickle in. Gobs of them. Where were these field trips all year, and do you really need us to chaperone? Isn’t the point of sending children to school that we don’t have to see them all day? Fiona is in preschool where they like to have a 1:1 parent/student ratio for field trips. Really? My kids have lived for several, happy years without any individualized, personal attention and I’d rather not start now lest they get ideas. But of course, I shift things around and sign up, because I know I’ve already reached my limit for child-scarring activities (for the year, and it’s only May), so I don’t really have much of a choice.
I may not have time for my kids during the day, but I did have time to swing into a Starbucks for an iced green tea after I stopped into Kinkos for work (the sweet people there really are the closest things I have to colleagues at the moment and yes, I buy them holiday gifts). “Only you” by Yaz was playing. I had to catch my breath for a moment as I got all misty and nostalgic. “Wow,” I breathed, “this song…” I couldn’t even continue. But the fetal barrista just looked at me like she’d seen more than enough nostalgic old people already today.
So I took my tea and left.