Here’s the Thing: Have an A+ summer

Honestly, I have no idea what the hot topics are right now. My mind is fully occupied with plowing through the next couple weeks until the school year is officially over. As a mom, it’s as big of a deal for us as it is for our kids. Other than knowing the hot topics of the closest people in my life, I’ve got tunnel vision and my brain is on overload.

It’s my own fault. Normally, my style is laid back, but lately I find myself over-analyzing these last couple weeks, mentally going over everything list by list. I guess you could say, it feels like finals week. It feels like the internship is coming to an end, and you have to prepare for the real job outside of school.

My daughter is successfully finishing second grade, so there’s no need for me to panic. When I feel like my super mom abilities are slipping, it’ll be OK. I’m certain my kids won’t grow into bank robbers just because their mother missed reading a newsletter or two. The exhaustion is setting in and we all wanted school to be over yesterday.

In defense of feeling not so put together, there is a lot to remember as the kids finish up school! It’s easy to feel like a walking, talking, checklist. Recitals, field trips, paperwork, fees for activities, and reminding myself to have coffee with a best friend for my sanity. I’m setting my alarm clock for various things throughout the day, because my time management is not so hot right now. But that’s how I feel at the end of every school year. I go from Paula Deen to Charlie Sheen.

In the beginning of the school year, I packed my daughter’s cold lunch with healthy food wedged Tetris style into her clean lunch box. She received my witty notes, packed with encouragement and rainbows. Now, we give her hot lunch money or an incomplete cold lunch, missing a juice or a food group or two. I would memorize school newsletters, like there would be a quiz afterwards. Nodding my head at good information. Jumping on school requests, such as making a side dish or volunteering for the class. Now, if the newsletter makes the junk pile, it’s good progress. Making a side dish depends on my level of frustration trying to bake around hyper kids. Or how guilty I’ll feel by bringing a stale cracker salad to a potluck. Don’t judge me.

By the time this article makes it into the paper, it will be the last week of school and this article will seem more irrelevant than usual. However at the moment, I’m in survival mode. It gets me thinking though.

What will I miss for the next three months? The smiles of amazing, supportive teachers and staff. Seeing three of my best friends every single school day and giving them knowing looks. (We see each other and just know). The support from other understanding parents that are living out a similar life to my own. I won’t miss finding excuses for my husband to get the kids ready, like my ankle hurts or my stomach feels weird, so I need to just take it easy and lay in bed all morning. I won’t miss seeing the crabby mom with angry eyebrows. When school is out, I can let my kids dress themselves without giving them the hairy eye every time. If we’re at home, they can run around in their swimsuits.

Here’s the thing, school is out this week! Are you making plans for summer? Or are you going to enjoy not having plans? I’m such a nerd that making a list of “things to do” is a must for me. It starts with writing big event dates on the calender, then trickles down to writing in a notebook full of ideas, and eventually important daily events end up on my grocery list.

The big picture of summer planning doesn’t matter too much, because an Alaskan summer sorts itself out anyway. Plans go out the window if the weather is not pleasant or spontaneous plans arise if the weather is agreeable. My son loves playing with others, so he’s easy to entertain. He just needs snacks and juice. Easy. My daughter is at an age that requires emotional work, creativity, and planning. In other words, she bores easily. I’m not a magician with a hat full of tricks, but there’s no need to pressure myself about it. A little preparation will go a long ways, but now I’m pressuring myself to enjoy summer? Time to chill out. I’m pretty sure no one is giving me a grade on how my summer turns out. (Even if they don’t … I’m aiming for an A+ anyway!)

Kasi McClure enjoys being a wife and mother of two in Kenai. She can be reached at columnkasi@gmail.com.

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