Parenting, Abington Style: The end-of-the-school-year slump rears its head

Parenting, Abington Style - Adriane Heine | June 6th, 2016 3:07 pm

We’ve had our first couple of 90-degree days. PSSAs are over. Pools are open. The science fair is in the history books. Shore plans are made.

These are just a handful of reasons it’s becoming increasingly hard to stay motivated until the last day of school.

“Mom, I literally cannot wait until summer,” my middle-schooler says several times a day.

“It is here,” was my stupid response when she first said it over Memorial Day weekend. We had just spent the day at Lake Wallenpaupack and planned to hit Glen Oak Country Club the next day. It was 90 degrees and humid. Sure, the actual summer solstice hadn’t arrived, but all other indications were that it was time to grab a senseless novel and soak in some rays.

She looked at me as if I were an idiot, head cocked to one side, mouth agape.

“Oh!” I remembered. “This is my diligent kid; the one who doesn’t know how to slough off. Duh.”

She went on to tell me how her English teacher had just assigned a brand new, final project and how her math teacher was giving them a cumulative final exam next week. The look on her face said, “How dare they?!” After two days of fun in the sun with the family, she missed the Memorial Day parade to spend the day reading, writing, studying and creating a tri-fold presentation board. My normally engaged student was miserable.

When the kids were in elementary school, this time of year was chock-full of end-of-the-year themed days. There was field day, carnival day and various dress-up days. I remember my own June slump when the kids would come home with forms looking for volunteers to manage all of these events, or when the kids would tell me, an hour before bedtime, that they needed to dress in a costume of some sort the next day. Back then, I was the one whose attitude was all over her face.

This is not the time of year to ask for school clothes. Kids are showing up dressed in too-tight shirts, or pants with a hole in the knee. Who wants to buy school clothes when the kids are about to spend three months in flip flops and swim suits and will probably outgrow anything you buy them by September?

Lunches look a lot different in June than they do in September. Gone are the appetizing Pinterest-style fresh fruit and veggie creations, which are replaced by leftovers, stale crackers and the plea, “Why can’t you just buy lunch like everybody else?!”

In September, the forms they bring home are promptly signed and returned. Anything to be read is immediately reviewed and sorted in neatly labeled bins. By May, everything goes in the recycling bin while I begrudgingly ask myself, “Was that really worth the paper?”

Thankfully, there is a remedy for all of this. We just have to hold on and power through, setting that alarm and putting one foot in front of the other. Before we know it, refrains of Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out For Summer” will be heard through open windows and my teenagers’ only break from binge-watching Netflix will be a little Instagram-surfing or an invitation to jump in a body of water.

Parenting, Abington Style

Adriane Heine

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