Yesterday, I had time to chop carrots slowly. Why did that feel like the most peaceful moment in the past three weeks?
Could it be that I’d finally made it to the other side of the end-of-school-year mountain? That obstacle of ceremonies, recitals, class parties and mandatory events that makes the transition into summer feel like an endurance test without enough oxygen.
It’s gotten out of hand.
Granted, I’ve never been good at closing ceremonies. I hightailed it out of town after getting my masters degree with a packed car and trip to the Schlotzsky’s drive-through. But the succession of ceremonies to mark milestones that are not even particularly significant adds to the exhaustion of getting through the school year these days.
The end of second grade, for example, could be satisfactorily celebrated by giving a kid a push-up pop and some extra time on the playground. I’m not sure it merits an orchestra performance, a half hour of speeches, and missing an entire day of work because the kids are dismissed at 10:30am.
"The end of second grade, for example, could be satisfactorily celebrated by giving a kid a push-up and some extra time on the playground."
I probably sound cynical. But then, again, I didn’t actually see the ceremony. I saw the backs of parents and their iPhones as they stood recording their own kids and obstructed the view for everyone behind them.
Piano recitals are likewise difficult, but I agree they are necessary. This year, I created a little game whereby I tried to identify the parent of each performer when he or she played. This helped me recognize the individual accomplishments of each parent and child and the pride they had in not only completing the year, but in playing before an audience.
I only checked my phone once.
Class parents, however, have the most difficult jobs, and I am surprised when I see them at the end of the school year still smiling and seemingly showered. Sending reminders, eliciting volunteers, and collecting contributions does not sound like a particularly complicated task until you remember that no one else stepped up to do it. And otherwise intelligent and competent parents seem to crumble into forgetful and noncommittal delinquents once some other person assumes the primary role of “organizer”.
I am a former class parent.
So, yes, my fellow parents, some still climbing that end-of-school-year mountain, there is comfort just ahead. We are now blissfully fighting over summer reading and math and timely reapplication of sunscreen.
And I’m chopping carrots, and taking as much time as I want.
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