School’s almost over. We’re in the homestretch of the lunch-making, the agenda-signing, and the ever-dreaded alarm clock of doom. It’s all good news right? It’s just in the nick of time too, because I am just plain done. I’ve lost all focus, drive, and determination, and I’m just barely dragging myself across that finish line. I don’t even have the stamina to scroll through Pinterest, let alone try any of the 75 Fun Ways to Make Lunches Look Like an Exotic Bird.
I’ve stopped signing agendas. I never have the required clothing ready for extra-curricular activities, and have actually begun encouraging dumpster diving—that’s what Nerdguy calls it when I catch him sneaking his favourite shirt back out of the hamper because he thinks he can wear it one more time. My children’s lunches look like they were gathered at a processed food trade show. In September, I have my act together. By May, the cast of the act have all gotten drunk and gone home.
So I think if we’re clear that, even under the best of circumstances, I’m already running a one-star establishment here, then it’s fairly obvious that throwing more work at me is going to go nowhere fast. “What work could there be? The end of the year is so exciting!” you may be exclaiming, if you are a perky optimist who probably loves to garden and actually filled out your children’s baby books. In other words, if you’re not a hot mess like I am.
These are the end-of-the-year activities that keep me up at night (not actually completing the activities, but bitching on Facebook about them instead—I think we’ve already established that I’ve clocked out):
I think I put less preparation into my own wedding than what is required of me to prepare my little snowflakes for their moments of stardom. On a good day I can get a brush through their hair. It’s a cold day in hell when I can whip up a slicked back bun without using duct tape. I swear the teachers must yell NO BANGS out in their sleep.
I love our teachers and I know they work hard, and I would like to show our appreciation. The problem is that I’ve read too many of those 10 Gifts Teachers Hate articles, so I get all stressed out about giving the perfect gift. In my usual style of not getting things done, I put it off for weeks while I “think about it,” panic that I’ve left it to the last minute, and then give them the gift card that I should have just given in the first place. But every year I think that I can save money and also show the teachers that I could totally homeschool my kids (I could not).
Do teachers like Lunchables and Kool-Aid? Because there’s no potluck casserole coming out of this kitchen anytime soon. If it’s good enough for my children (it’s not) then it’s good enough for them.
Pre-registration for Fall Activities
I’m currently hemorrhaging money into the rapidly expanding camp schedule as panic sets in about a full summer of bored children. Pretty much the last thing I want to do is figure out our fall schedule and shell out money for tutus before the stage make-up from the last dance recital has even been chiselled off.
I don’t know what I’m doing wrong here. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m an only child, whereas I have three girls close in age, or if my mother was just more organized than I am, but I don’t ever remember her weeping into a pile of clothing or chasing me around to try last year’s clothes on. I never had bins of clothes all over my room because I could only fit one season in my dresser. My house now looks like the back room at a rummage sale, and I often think that the problem could be that the girls have too many clothes—but why is there never anything that fits?
To add to the state of chaos, every year we decide that we are going to have a garage sale to earn some money and get this place organized dammit! We pull things out, gather boxes, make piles, get busy with all the other stuff, and miss out on prime garage sale season. So we call the whole thing off, and avoid eye contact with the piles. Maybe I can sneak stuff out of here in the kids’ lunches, or give it as teacher gifts—is an eight-year-old breast pump an inappropriate gift?
Have you noticed that the earlier in the year that someone suggests an activity for the summer, the better it sounds? I don’t know if it was the long winter making me feel like the guy from The Shining, or the thought that it was so far away that I wasn’t really going to have to do it, but I agreed to go camping. Twice. Then there are the promises of theme park visits, building and tending a vegetable garden, sleepovers, and daily visits to the public pool. I hope my kids can’t afford a lawyer, because those verbal contracts are going to be breached in a big way.
Every year I swear that I will be ready for it. I’m going to stay on top of it from the beginning, and the children and I will spend hours frolicking outdoors. Our yard will look like something from a magazine, and we will admire it while we sit on the front porch (which exists only in my mind). Reality has dandelions spreading faster than a rash, along with an actual spreading rash because I am allergic to everything. We are all too scared to even go in the backyard because a raccoon is having babies under our broken deck. I have a husband who grew up in the country who likes the natural look, and a child who runs away every time I turn my back to pull a weed. Reality also has me closing the blinds and pretending the yard doesn’t exist.
School Bags of Crap
Every spring teachers demonstrate that they would make excellent drug smugglers, and our kids are the mules. Check those bags on the front porch, like a security checkpoint. My kids have been known to bring home bags of rocks they were hiding in their desks, 95 broken pencils, half of what could have been a sandwich at some point, and an art portfolio rivalling the size of that of a metropolitan art museum. Be vigilant!
We have exactly one month of school left to get these things done—good luck to all of you—and if you don’t need actual luck yourself, maybe I can have your share? I’ll trade you some broken pencils and a breast pump!
I wrote the original version of “9 End-of-the-Year Test (of My Sanity)” for BLUNTmoms last year. Today I tried to send K-cups in my children’s lunches, so apparently things haven’t improved any. Sweet Jesus one more day!