Only another parent will understand.
Every year I have the same June fantasy: The whole town assembles at the local football stadium. The ancient public address system wheezes to life. An animated voice fills the arena.
Attention everybody! All Brownie Fly-ups are happening on the 50-yard line on the east side of the field. Cub Scout Blue-and-Gold dinners and Boy Scout Eagle awards will take place at the home goal post in one hour. Piano recitals? Let’s see. Oh yes, the south parking lot. Look for the Steinways. You can’t miss ’em. Soccer awards are being given out at the away 10-yard line at four o’clock. Dance recitals start at three on the 50-yard line, west side. I repeat. That’s the west side. And the Teacher Appreciation Coffee is over at the north parking lot.
Hungry? Don’t miss the bake sale over at the refreshment stand. Proceeds this year go to the recreation department camp program. For your enjoyment, the All Town Band and All Town Choir will be mid-field at seven p.m. Don’t miss them! This year, 500 of our kids in the elementary through high school music program are performing and they’re great!
Can’t you see it? A progressive end-of-year party/recital/recognitions/awards ceremony that would last for one VERY long day. All the excitement, potlucks, cupcakes, and costumes done in one fell swoop. Whew!
I know. The logistics of the thing make it impossible. But every May and June I find myself just wishing there was a way to make the end of the school year less stressful and more enjoyable. It seems that every club, organization, sport, class, and lesson has some kind of tie-the-year-up event. Do the math: If you have three kids and each is involved in two things, there will now be at least six extra events to factor into June. If you add even one graduation, you can forget about life as usual for at least a few weeks.
In many ways, May and June echo the winter holiday season for families with school-aged children. There are gifts to buy, goodies to bake, relatives to include and entertain, and rehearsals and ceremonies to attend. All of this happens on top of our regular, already over-busy lives. If we are feeling stretched, it’s because we are!
Juggling the Joy
Don’t get me wrong. I love watching my kids collect their trophies and awards, demonstrate what they’ve learned, and celebrate their successes as much as anyone else. Their shows and concerts regularly move me to sentimental tears. And, heaven knows, teachers, leaders, and the hundreds of volunteers who make possible so many of the extracurricular activities our kids enjoy deserve our thanks and appreciation. The question isn’t how to eliminate all these wonderful events. They are, after all, a celebration of growth and talent and friendship. The question is how to do them in a joyful way.