Today is an end time. The 2012-2013 school year ends in our district. I no longer have 4th and 7th graders. I have 5th and 8th graders.
This summer, George needs to teach the 8th grader to shave. That's a beginning time.
People dislike change in general, but end times and beginning times happen all the time. Things stop. Other things start. When I read the final period on the Harry Potter series, I felt a sense of loss. It took weeks to settle on new reading material. This often happens to me. How can I move on when I'm still imaginatively inhabiting a book that is over? But there's always another book to read, to breathe in, to inhabit. I'll find a new one...and pretty quickly, too.
We just don't want things to end. A lot of moms lament the natural aging process of their children. They want their babies to stay babies, their toddlers to stay toddlers, their preschoolers to stay preschoolers, their grade-schoolers to stay grade-schoolers.
But no one in their right mind wants their teenagers to stay teenagers. Nature helps us out by that point, don't you think?
I loved school and everything about it (even homework because I was weird), but I loved the end of school, too. Summer break, is, after all, the kid equivalent of a Hawaiian vacation. Plus, I got grades for the year, the measure of my performance and proof positive that I was smart enough.
Smart enough for what? That's a question I never really asked.
Right now, I'm smart enough to know that in three months I will celebrate the end time of summer and beginning time of another school year with an enthusiasm that will likely reduce me to tears of joy and relief when I sip my morning coffee in a quiet house after three months of nonstop noise.
But today's end time/beginning time is pretty joyful, too. Well, except for the pink eye, but we can't have everything we want, can we? For almost three months, I don't have to drive Jack to and from school. I don't have to pack lunches for three people every night...just for one. I don't have to check homework. I don't have to remember a whacky volunteer schedule.
Instead, my boys and I will putter. The boys will both have some summer work to do to earn their screen time, and I'll have to stay on them to get the work done before the play. We'll go to the library and museums and pools and playgrounds and movies. We'll take the dog for walks, bake cookies, and eat ice cream. We'll go on a serious road trip in July. We'll watch birds at the feeder and fireflies lighting up the night. We'll hang out with friends and shop for school and in August we'll wonder where our summer went.
It'll be the end times again. Or beginning times, depending on your glass-half-full/empty orientation. And they will be good times.
Are you looking forward to summer? How do you cope with ends and beginnings? Do you resist or relent?