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Oh, June: The mama version of graduation anxiety

For as long as I can remember I both loved and mourned June. Every June for almost half my life meant goodbyes. Every teacher to whom you would never turn in homework again; every classmate who would graduate or move away in the summer; every community established so quickly and experienced so wholly. Each grade, from kindergarten all the way up to my second year of business school, had its own uncanny friendships and serendipitous societies and secret-keeping, had its possibilities and magic. And it had to end.

I was reminded of my memories of my junior year in high school during the Great Journal Revisiting that occurred when I performed early this month in Mortified Portland. I'd written a melancholy good-bye to my friends, the seniors, who were graduating. And I've been feeling the same way about the 11 days left of school for my kids.

This year, it's not teachers and fellow students I'll miss -- though indeed I will miss Truman's retiring teacher, Donna Zimbro, who was just what he needed. It's this time I'm having with my youngest, Monroe, who gets to hang out with me each day while his brothers are in school. He'll be in kindergarten next year, and our time together will change in character and intensity. Though I'll welcome the wide open possibility of 5.75 hours each day (!!) utterly to myself (let's do another !!!), I'm already nostalgic for this time we have. There's something irreplaceable about the time with a baby, a toddler, a preschool-aged child; I'm not ready to let go.

When his brothers come home from school on June 13, that time will have concluded, forever.

How has your relationship to the end of school changed as you have become a parent? Are you sad, or happy, or a sentimental mix? Do you mark these ends-of-eras in any special way?


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June used to be my favorite time of year. I was finally sprung from another year with my evil Waldorf school teacher and had an entire summer of hanging out, going to the library and camp to look forward to. Woo hoo! Alas, now it's all reversed and September is when I feel liberated. After years of sahm, I work from home part-time and *treasure* the hours when my kids are in school. Yes, we have fun in the summer, we enjoy the looser structure, the berry-picking, etc. But I can't afford to send my kids to sleepaway camp for a month the way my parents did and they get bored with so many of their friends away or in camps all summer. I know that in the future I'll look back on them with nostalgia, but those days get awfully long.

The flip side of this summer thing is working parents have to schedule every single minute of their kid's summer so that they can continue to work. I led a Girl Scout troop for many years and the girls used to beg their moms just to able to "sit home and do nothing" the way they thought my daughters did with a SAHM. Not that we really did do nothing but just being able to sleep in means a lot to a kid.

My teens have little summer at this point. One will have their own job and another has to go to summer school because he flunked math this year.

Because we are in Montessori school, we don't have to say goodbye to a class yearly, just every 3 years. Though of course, the oldest kids do move upwards and onwards... making for some change, just not as much change as a whole new class/teacher yearly.

This will be our first summer without a program affiliated with our own school. Preschools often have summer programs, for elementary, they say everyone wants camps. So we have a summer of camps, which by Sept, we will be so welcome to be back in school!

I honestly think he likes and will be miss school. Camps are fun but only so much, esp. when your friends are not there. And free time is always so valuable as well.

Ah summer....when I worked full time and my daughter was younger, she went to the Y and was scheduled heavily (between kindergarten and first grade and subsequently between second and third grade).

Since then I've either been unemployed, contract positions (that left me unemployed in the summer, anyway) or now, working from home.

Because we really couldn't afford it and she had no interest, anyway, she stayed home with me. Of course we also would take our vacations and do lots of day trips over the summer, along with crafting, swing lessons and other activities.

Truthfully, she DOES get a bit bored by the end of it---and looks forward to returning to school. But when summer first starts, she's thrilled to do nothing and veg for at least a week or two. This year the vegging will come later, anyway---since we'll have guests and white water rafting the week after school lets out.

My husband always whines about "what are we going to do with her all summer???". Then I show him what care costs, explain that at 12 (on this Saturday) she's waaaaaaaay to old for glorified babysitting (she plans to do the babysitting class herself this summer!) and by the time you look at all the stuff we do, her summer's pretty full.

As for saying "good-bye", there are teachers we'll miss, there are teachers (and principals!!!) we couldn't get away from fast enough....and we like change.

Oh, Sarah. I was in your shoes last year and I felt some of the exact same sadness. I miss my preschoolers, and you are so right that you are saying goodbye to a very precious time. The next step is lovely, don't get me wrong, but these last days of you and Monroe in the world are a treasure. I hope you enjoy them!

We said good-bye to a school last year as we had made the decision to transfer elsewhere in the fall, so our previous June was a very difficult time for us. Summer was an escape from a challenging school year, but filled with a lot of emotions as my son was not on board with the change. This year, I am looking forward to taking a break for summer, knowing we are going back to a place we really love in September. I work a non-traditional schedule, so I am around most days with the kids. I find summer to now be a chance for us to get back to those preschool days, going to the park when we want, packing picnics and just hitting the road, staying in pajamas as long as we can stand it, basically not being tied to a schedule.

Summer=same sh**, different season. I would love it if this could be the year when things would be different. I wouldn't have to work for 3 months, and she would not have to go to the Y all summer. We have a 2 week break near the end to fly to MA, which will be a joy, but how I long for those hot days, going to the park, or the water park, endless playdates, biking, rollerskating (this was my childhood I'm talking about) and then sleep over camp starting at age 8, for a month!

As for goodbyes, we are saying goodbye to the 20 kid class, and hello to the 30 kid class next year. Luckily not saying goodbye to anyone leaving due to budget cuts. Saying goodbye to friends for the summer unless we can work out playdates instead of the Y. If any of our friends are reading this...HEAVY ON THE PLAYDATES PLEASE! My girl deserves a summer, and not just on weekends!

Summer's a whole different bag for working parents. We've got somewhat flexible schedules, so we're able to stagger the camps with days with mom or dad and we've got a break at the start so we can go visit family, but the best solution I've found to date is to coordinate camp enrollment with friends. She has part of the summer in a camp that's affiliates with her school, so tons of familiar faces there, and in the later part, we go for community center camps and try to get as many of her friends together and signed up for the same weeks as we can. She has plenty of friends with working parents as well as stay at homes, so we throw some long playdates and marathon sleepovers in there too. She's busy and active, but that's really her speed anyway. I think she'd lose her mind with three months of nothing scheduled (and take us all down with her). It's a relief, really; there's no guilt about the long hours at day camp when your kid is thrilled to go.

@Debby - while I always liked the Y when my daughter went there, the last summer my daughter did it she was completely over it. And our school's program (Vermont Hills), she described as "the place where nightmares come true".

Anyway, my point is, have you considered looking at a different program? And yeah, I get that might not be an option for a variety of reasons, etc...but just maybe something more in line with her interests, where a good friend goes too, etc...

For example, back in the day, had I not been laid off, we were going to switch to a program that her best friend attended.

Yeah, I have thought of that, but the hard part is that I pay a monthly rate year round and it's really cost effective to go with the Y. However, she does have close friends there who she is in after school with. I think around 3rd grade I will start to look into doing a piece-meal weekly camp thing, but at 6-7, I think staying in one place for the whole summer is less chaotic. I think I should have become a teacher! Similar to social work in a lot of ways, and really hard work and long hours, but oh, for the summers off (unless of course you work a summer job!)!

Yeah, I kinda figured you had (and totally get the monthly thing, too), but just thought I'd throw it out there!

And I hear you about ease: at one point (this was when I not only worked outside the home, but sometimes very long, late hours) when my kid was little we had to changed daycare providers. Because of our then schedules, we needed someone who did 24 hour (or at least until midnight) care.

So we found two, but one of them (the better of the two) didn't do Sundays, which we both sometimes had to work. So my husband wanted to use both part time. Guess who would've done (again bus dependent, here) much of the shuffling, not to mention the scheduling? Not the one with the brilliant idea, that's who!

Everyone has started asking my kid if he's 'excited' the school year is ending... he is stumped by the question! Why would it be exciting in his mind... he likes school, his class is going well, so to him, why does all that stop in June anyway? Summer has some good stuff of course, but it's still a change. He likes camps, but I think he likes school more! Why does everyone assume he wants to be 'done'? I think he's be happy to carry on...

I personally hated school end as a child... why did something good have to end... I wasn't good at socializing in the summer, so I lost almost all friends and community for 3 months. It felt like a forced 'break' and that I was missing something, and I just didn't get why. So I guess he gets this from me :)

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