Today was the last day of school for my kids. They’ve just finished 2nd grade and kindergarten, respectively. My husband was reminding me of their first day, just over nine months ago.
It was supposed to be some big emotional moment, with my youngest child starting school. I was too proud to be sad. He was so excited to get on the big yellow bus with his big sister. I was so nervous I was calling the bus garage when there was no bus after 15 minutes of waiting.
I think he’s grown so much in that one school year. He seems older, anyway. He can read now. He wants to be a scientist. He brought home an old phone they had taken apart in class. He writes and illustrates his own stories. The thumb habit is nearly history. He’s an official first grader.
My daughter has grown, too. I’m only a head taller than her now, and I had a dream that she was asking to wear my shoes. She is constantly thinking of new schemes and projects for her and her brother to do. She also likes to make up plays and stories. She’s going to have a challenge in third grade, where she’ll probably have homework every night.
Now the summer stretches forth, like a giant white piece of paper, with stories that are yet to be written, and adventures that remain unexplored. There will be ballgames, camps, and late nights watching movies. There will be picnics, parks, and pools, and opportunities to enjoy time with family and friends.
My kids will be sure they get to stay up late tonight, with no school to wake up for in the morning. I’ll be able to get ready for work in the morning without signing papers, looking for shoes, or making sure everyone’s had breakfast. They will be essentially clueless about the special gift of summer vacation, as I trudge to my 9-5 job on beautiful sunny mornings, looking out my office window at blue skies and blooming flowers.
Even in the carefree days of summer, I hope my kids will continue to learn. My daughter’s already asked about the reading program at the library. Right now they are completely fascinated with caterpillars and four leaf clovers. As long as they keep exploring and asking “why?” they’re little brain cells are going to continue to grow and expand. It’s the best kind of summer school.