In September I was ALL into making healthy lunches. I used little tiny cookie cutters to cut cucumber into appealing shapes, I made quinoa, I introduced a new food each week. My lunchboxes were a rainbow-hued, fresh food, nutrient-packed testament to that feeling you get when starting a new year. You know the one, the clean notebook and brand spanking new sneakers feeling. The one where the hum of sharpening pencils is in the air and you think "THIS IS THE YEAR!!!!" The excitement of a fresh new chapter, new school clothes, new friends, new teacher, new you. Forget January 1st, September is the real fresh start.
Now it's May. And school is almost over, but not quite yet. And my lunchboxes, well... They have taken a turn for the worst. Most of the time I'm trying to convince the kids to just eat at the cafeteria ("Come on, you guys LOVE chicken pattie on a pretzel roll!") and the rest of the time I'm just throwing a sandwich into their nearly-broken-but-still-hanging-together lunchbox and calling it a day. I used to write them cute inspirational notes every day, ("You can do it! Try your best!") and now they're lucky if they get a pat on the head as they go out the door ("Byeeeeee!").
School clothes that were brand new in September are either outgrown and already handed down or ripped and stained and clinging to life to just eke out the last few days of wear. Sneakers are annihilated, I mean destroyed. I'm expecting their school sneakers to just fall off their feet in shreds walking off the bus on the last day.
It feels like the giant snow bank just melted on our front yard but I can already feel summer creeping in, we are eating outside and pulling the sprinkler out on weekend afternoons, and the siren call of the ice cream man can be heard as he trolls past my house always conveniently after bedtime. So we are struggling to stay on track with these last few weeks. Counting down the hours until the days expand into extra daylight full of ice pops and tanned shoulders, chlorine knotted hair and bathing suits and towels hanging off the edge of my deck railing to dry.
The funny thing is, I was one of those parents who could not wait to get them back on the school bus in September. I thrilled at picking out the new school supplies, the fresh sheets of paper, the squeaky clean brand new pencil boxes and lunch containers. I'm a freak when it comes to school supplies and checking off boxes, it lets my OCD tendencies run wild through the stationery aisle and I love packing up those shiny new backpacks. I also craved the routine after the long hot summer. But let's not think about that right now as Memorial Day waits invitingly with hot dogs and candy throwing parades, shall we?
Because now that the end of the year is here I can't wait to throw our old school routine out and switch over to pool time, and I feel like if I have to pack another little sandwich into a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle lunchbox I will scream. Give me flip flops and bomb pops and Marco Polo and a stack of beach towels as high as my 3 year old. I want to smell sunscreen and watermelon cubes and freshly mowed grass.
All I can ask is please, please don't send their recorders home for summer break.