Friday, May 30, 2014

Last day of school/First day of summer

It's finally arrived. The day marking the end of the longest 9 months of my life. No, I didn't just give birth to octuplets. Today is  . . .

THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have to be honest. I feel like I have a little bit of PTSD after this school year. I can't put my finger on it exactly. Was it the 4 kids in 4 schools on 4 different schedules? (Leaving at 7:00, 7:30, 9:00, and 12:30, and coming home at 2:30, 3:10, and 3:30.) Was it the accelerated learning programs that both Will and Elizabeth did with their multitudinous projects and homework? Was it Kate's profound sorrow and anger over the irrelevance of every. single. assignment. she received all. year. long. and the hours upon hours that I spent trying to get her to either focus and finish her work or JUST GO TO BED FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! (Yes, I'm exaggerating, but this was not the best year for Kate the Great. Or her parents. Especially the one who can't stay awake past 9:30pm.) Was it my mistake of answering the phone back in September and saying "yes" when the PTA president-elect personally called to ask if I wouldn't consider signing on as Room Mom for Rachael's kindergarten class? (And I was the worst room mom ever, I might add. Thank goodness there was a surrogate mother-type who did all the "extras" that a real room mom should do. I stopped after delegating via email.) Was it a combination of all these things while also trying to tackle a variety of home improvement/decorating projects and my responsibilities as the monthly party planner for the ladies at church? (1st Counselor in the Relief Society presidency for the Mormons in the room.)

I don't know, really. Maybe if I had 4 more kids in the queue waiting to start school I would have had more endurance, but getting to the end of my last child's last day of kindergarten after an eternity of half-day hades (okay, Kate went to preschool around 2001 I believe, so I guess that's just 13-ish years of half-day hades) was much harder than it should have been. It felt like doing the last of a hundred push-ups, or running the last mile in a marathon, or forcing down the last hot dog in an international eating contest. In fact--and I feel really badly about this--I actually got to a point somewhere in May when I not only started to lose gratitude for my children's schools and teachers, but I actually started to feel angry with them with each additional assignment, paper, email, or special invitation that showed its ugly face in my inbox. It was as if they were trying--deliberately trying--to complicate my life and destroy my relationships with my children as I was forced to go into SuperNag mode. (I know this is completely irrational, and my rational brain is still eternally indebted to these people, but I hope you know what I mean.)

So it is with great joy and supreme gladness that I present to you a few low quality iphone pictures of our last moments of school and first moments of freedom. Sweet, sweet freedom.

Here we have Rachael and Elizabeth on the second to last day of school. (Because the second to last day of school is really the last legitimate day of school since going for an hour and a half on the last last day without even a backpack doesn't really feel like anything. It's so totally anti-climactic and made even more so in our home by the fact that Kate and Will don't even go to school on their last last day. Anyway.) Aren't they just the cutest things ever?
Today (the last last day of school) started off with a bang as Elizabeth (wearing her new Dr. Who t-shirt and necklace she bought with her birthday money) and I went by Smith's grocery to get a bouquet of flowers for her teacher. (See? My rational mind really is still intact.) I dropped her off early at school so I could get back home in time to pick up Rachael for kindergarten carpool. (They had to be to school at the same time--but again, different schools. So fun!)  

I will actually really miss kindergarten carpool and all the hysterically cute conversations I've overheard over the last year. Wish I could have recorded them all because there is no way to recreate them. As much as I was complaining back there, you know there is a big chunk of my soul that is weeping over the fact that I will never have another preschool or kindergarten age child at home with me half days doing all the super cute things preschoolers and kindergartners do. 

And maybe that has been a part of my personal trauma and drama over the past year as well: feeling angst over wanting to move on to the next stage and be done with half days while simultaneously not wanting it to ever come to an end. Honestly, sometimes motherhood feels like nothing more than a big ball of emotional contradictions and paradoxes. It's exhausting.  

While the little girls were attending their last hour and a half of school (I hadn't seen hide nor hair of Kate or Will by this point who were obviously still blissfully sleeping in their beds), I headed back to the grocery story to get lunch stuff for the first day of summer get together Will was having at our house. After picking up the girls again and getting lunch ready, I took Rachael to a first day of summer party at one of her friend's homes. The mountains are so green right now!
And by the time I came back, cute teenage girls had invaded my home. Is it just me, or do 13-year-old girls look way older than 13-year-old boys?
After lunch the five of them went tubing in the natural lazy river in our backyard. Will's poor friend popped our tube just two weeks ago when the two of them tubed the river, and then he managed to pop our neighbor's tube again today in addition to cutting his arm on a tree branch. I don't think he's going to be tubing our little creek again! (It's pretty cold and gnarly down there . . .) I love this picture:

While they were down in the lazy river, I had Kate do some driving. (She's getting her license next week--finally!!!) First we went to the next neighborhood over to pick up Will's back pack from the porch of someone who emailed me saying they found it on the sidewalk in front of their house. He actually left it where the bus picks him up when he realized it was yearbook day and he didn't need it-- that is called teenage boy brain, right there! Then I had Kate drive me to the copy store to pick up the flyers we're going to take around to nearby neighborhoods to advertise for our 2nd annual "Reynolds Camp". (Taking reservations now! If you are in the area and feel like you could trust your children to the care of me and my children, text or call!!)
Not long after Will and his friends got back from the lazy river, he had to finish packing up for his campout at the sand dunes with his scout troop tonight. After dropping him off at the church, I dropped Elizabeth off at a friend's house to go with her family and a few other friends up the canyon to make a bonfire and burn all their old school papers and make s'mores. (I want to burn all my paperwork!!)
Look at that big bag of knowledge about to be burned to ash:
About this time Rachael was already getting bored, so we invited over her bestie for a late-over. So glad she could come entertain my little fireball! These two have spent the majority of this school year pretending to be cheetahs, and the last I heard them playing tonight, Rachael was complaining she had hurt her tail:
So ya, it's the last day of school/first day of summer, and I'm already kind of exhausted. THIS IS A BAD SIGN, PEOPLE! But I will tell you what makes everything okay. Kate has spent the entire day in her pajama clothes (you know, the kind you can wear to run errands and no one would even know you slept in them?) listening to music and drawing. She has morphed into the calmest, nicest, happiest person in the world. Overnight. She's back to drawing instead of studying, sleeping instead of procrastinating, and what a difference that makes in this girl. And what a difference that makes in this mother! I heard one of the truest things ever said just the other day from a friend: "A mother is only as happy as her saddest child." So if summer means happy, carefree kids for a few months, then I say bring it! Bring on summer!

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