The last day of school, instead of leaving me feeling nostalgic about my eldest child no longer being an elementary student, left me discombobulated and exhausted. This was not without reason. My 4th grader went in for a haircut two days before school let out, where the hairdresser informed me that she had head lice. (Don't worry, she's been treated.) My 3rd grader came down with strep throat less than twenty four hours before her sister's elementary school graduation. (Don't worry, she's on antibiotics.) My kindergartner was healthy and thankfully willing to roll with the punches as plan after plan changed leading up to the last day of school. (There's something to be said for being the laid-back last born.)
By the time the final half-day of school was over at 11:30, I wanted nothing more than a soaking bath and a long nap. Did I mention it was the start of summer break? That bath and nap would have to wait for a while.
Instead, I got to referee a fight between the eldest and middle, answer countless questions from the youngest and finally send my daughters to their rooms to clean since they couldn't be in the same room without arguing, snapping and verbally lashing each other. As I trudged up and down the basement stairs to wash yet another load of laundry, I fantasized about what summer break meant. At least I could sleep in tomorrow morning, stay in my PJs until noon and just hang out at home... and then I remembered - tomorrow we're going to pick strawberries. Seriously? To my fatigued mind, it sounded daunting to get us all up, dressed and in the van in time to beat the heat. But didn't my afternoon serve the purpose of reminding me why I needed Fun Jar activities in the first place? My imaginary morning in our PJs might bring me some rest, but relaxation was likely to be in short supply since my daughters had ably demonstrated their need to get out of the house with just a few short hours of summer vacation.
So I took a deep breath, put bottles of water in the fridge to chill in preparation for tomorrow's berry picking, invited a friend or two to join us and reminded myself that I felt exactly the same way this time last year. I need the Fun Jar as much as my daughters do. It saves me from myself. Last year, we had a single summer Friday between school's dismissal and a beach vacation. In spite of my reservations, I scheduled a trip to the park. And it went far better than I had anticipated. It got us out of the house. Everything still got packed. We were all happier. And it's my hope that the same will hold true tomorrow. Stay tuned for the post-berry recap. And if there's a week where our schedule matches yours, don't let little things like head lice, strep throat or fatigue keep you from coming. You'll find it's worth it - for you as much as your children.