The Gateway to Summer

It is the last day of school. Two of my kids are at their elementary school for an hour and a half. My junior high and high schoolers are both at home since no one takes role on the last day and they don’t see much point in wandering around in the halls carrying yearbooks. In 30 minutes I’ll retrieve the younger pair and the school year will be officially over.

The end of a school year is usually an event of high emotion to me. I’m either eagerly ready to be done with a year that is hard, or dreading the end of a year that was good. Often I feel both ways about different children, or even the same child, if the year has been particularly… interesting. For the past few years I looked toward the onset of summer schedule with dread. I panicked about organizing 6 people in one house all day long so that work was maximized and squabbling was minimized. I also tend to dread the influx of lunches. Fixing meals is not my favorite activity and with the kids at home I have three per day instead of just two. The end of the school year also carries with it much angst about what the following year will be. No matter how hard the current year was, it was at least a known quality. The year to come could be so much worse.

If you pay attention to tenses in the previous paragraph (but not too close, my tenses probably don’t hold up to intense scrutiny) you will notice that I talked about all that high emotion in past tense. It has all been absent this year. Today is the end of school and my entire emotional reaction has been to shrug and dust off the summer chore lists from last year. It is possible that I simply used up all my end-of-year hand wringing back in April when I helped my older two register for classes and filled out paperwork for my younger two to be transferred to a different school. All the choices are made and my psyche seems inclined to let them lay until (probably) sometime in August. Also there doesn’t seem to be much point in panicking about having all the kids home while I’m trying to work. I’ve done it before and sorted it out. We’ll figure it out again.

What I’m feeling is not apathy. It’s not that I don’t care. It is that I don’t feel stress. The calmness is nice. I can save all my panic for the upcoming book pre-order, book shipping, and three major conventions in six weeks. Perhaps it is simply that Conservation of Anxiety means that I’ve already met my anxiety quota for the summer and I don’t have any left to spill over onto the end of school. Except that I don’t feel particularly anxious right now. I feel like we’re going to move calmly and seamlessly into a nice summer routine.

Tune in next week for : Sandra finds her stress, a blog in four parts about how bored kids can squabble over anything.