Saturday, May 29, 2010

Makin' Copies

I guess this week got away from me, huh? The only way I know to put it is: the final few days of school before summer are jam-packed: showy celebrations wherein the joy and recollection of the year's accomplishments are whipped into a frenzy, and when it's all over you feel, somehow, that it didn't last long enough. Yet, oddly, you're exhausted and can't really figure out why.

I am, invariably, a basket-case of emotions the last day, willing myself not to tear up afresh with every teacher, consoling myself in the carpool line as I marvel at how everyone's grown, wondering why my children have to grow at all? It's so unfair. But seriously--closing events, or more accurately, transitions are often difficult for me, and I tend to overthink them (surprise!) to the degree that I almost always neglect some technical responsibility related to the children's education. Can I write a heartfelt letter to a tutor? Absolutely. Can I find my child's bookbag the last day? Or remember to send the $10 donation in for the class gift? Um, usually not.

This year, it was the library fine. Two dollars and fifty cents was all we owed, but you know the school librarian is not playing when she sends home those highlighted reminder notes! Seriously, y'all, those gentle reminders are one thing, but once the slips start coming home with hand-written addendums, it's business time, believe you me.  Donna Jo* is not afraid to regulate, and in first grade, this is accomplished by the withholding of the delinquent student's report card. Now, to be clear, I wasn't withholding the book for kicks, I was simply allowing it a few days to dry following its anti-bacterial-wipes sponge bath, which followed the orange juice spill.  But then I realized, DJ doesn't need my reasons. She just wants to close the books on the books, and the year...and get her summer vacation on. And that's cool. So-we (meaning Joshua) paid up, got it in right under the wire. And to be honest, it felt kind of noble, like donating to public radio in the final moments of the pledge drive. Only instead of a hand-crank radio or reuseable shopping tote screen-printed with my local member station's call letters, our thank-you gift is getting to see our child's grades. Lovely. Does that come in celadon?

 Oh, but listen to this-after picking up the kids, we'd planned to head straight to the toy store for the end-of-year tradition we like to call Getting A New Toy. Since we don't do Getting A New Toy very often, it's kind of a big deal. Like, a three-times-a-year deal. But somewhere between dropping off teacher gifts, sobbing, and heroically paying our fine, we'd arranged to meet some friends at a local vegetarian restaurant to toast the upcoming break. Neither of us are vegetarian, but my husband likes to pretend he is sometimes and the food at this place is amazing. As we sat in a line of cars being loaded with gangly, overexcited children, our own children standing on the elbow rests of our seats and peering out the sunroof, alternately air-guitaring and mock-sparring their classmates, we started to fret. People-hungry people most likely- were waiting on us at the cafe and here we were, stuck. But then again, should we really be dragging our own Greedy Greenies to a semi-elegant restaurant, when they only had eyes for Playmobil and Diaper-Wetting Dollbabies? Moral Dilemma.

Then came this scale-tipping text:

Friend: Dude. Rob Schneider is totally at the restaurant. Two tables away.

Joshua: You mean Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigalo? DON'T LET HIM LEAVE.

And suddenly we were all, "What are we waiting for? The kids LOVE soyburgers! We can't let them miss out on a end-of-school tempeh wrap!" Then we jumped lanes and high-tailed it to lunch, all in effort to feast our eyes upon The Richmeister. It was really insane-the magnet of celebrity. Especially when one of the children said, "Mommy, is someone chasing us?"

We missed him by less than five minutes. But it got us moving, right? Out of the mini-van gridlock, into the cool of the restaurant and tall glasses of Red Zinger tea. And soy-burgers. And, really, I don't even know what we would have said to the guy. It was just..a novelty, like a doll that can drink a bottle AND "go" on her pink plastic potty, simultaneously. Oh, well. Incidentally, the doll has been named Sunflower Libby. And she has lots of accidents. I'm assuming Mr. Schneider is sufficiently trained.

So-I'm back, I hope. Day One of Summer went well, with just about every seasonally-appropriate activity finding a place on the itinerary. Corn-on-the-cob, swimming, homemade popsicles, hide-and-seek, and a four-square tournament. Even a late-afternoon pop-up thunderstorm. Although-nobody claimed to be "bored", so I guess it's not official...yet. Good thing we have three months.


*The librarian, who is awesome.

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