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Challenge: Life Changes

What I'm Not Going to Miss About the Elementary School Years

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My youngest child is finished with elementary school, and it is a huge relief. I feel like I should be sad that this phase of my life is over, but it’s mostly a relief. I found the elementary school years to be boring and sometimes annoying, and I’m honestly not sad to be finished with them. Maybe one day, when I’m a lot less tired and cranky, I will look back at these activities with fondness, but for now, I’m just happy to say good bye.

Goodbye, Fund Raisers

I’m done. Check it off the list. Never have to do it again. No more frigid Saturday mornings, standing in front of a grocery store watching my kids trying to sell overpriced popcorn for cash in a debit card world.

As a favor to the world, I never buy stuff from the kids in front of grocery stores. My hope is that falling sales will eventually end the ridiculous practice, and then millions of grateful parents and unsuspecting shoppers will thank me.

Goodbye, Projects

I hated school projects with a burning passion. I mean, I really hated them. In fact, one year I pulled my kids out of school and homeschooled them because my 2nd grader had a project due every single Thursday. FOR THE ENTIRE SCHOOL YEAR.

I made it until October, when he had to create a unique animal from recycled materials. He was 8, and we didn’t recycle back then. So, we drove an hour to my mother’s house because she did recycle, and more importantly, she knew how to use a hot glue gun. She made my son a fabulous creature.

HA! Bullet dodged – until the next week. That week he(we) had to build a solar system that revolved around him. I snapped. I withdrew my kids from school, bought Saxon Math, and homeschooled them. We had a blissful, project-free remainder of the school year.

Goodbye, Bodily Fluids

I’m not going to miss being intimately aware of my children’s bodily fluids. Pee, poop, snot, and vomit are all gross.

Goodbye, Play Dates

I wasn’t very good at play dates, primarily because I don’t like small talk (I’m allowed to say this – it’s in my personality profile), but also because I have this uncanny ability to see danger lurking in even the most innocuous of places. For me, a play date meant either hours of small talk or – if it was a drop off play date – hours of visualizing my child in dangerous situations. Self-inflicted torture, but torture nonetheless.

Eventually, I learned to tell my kids, “You have three siblings – your life is a play date. Go play with them.” Sometimes they would mercifully let me get away with that.

Goodbye, Folding Chairs

I am finished spending my Saturdays in a folding chair watching my kids play a sport. I am finished with listening to other parents talk about how good their nine-year-old is at that sport. That is beyond tedious…And FYI, no one’s kid is that good at a sport when they are 9.

Goodbye, Car Pool Lines

I know, without a doubt, that sitting in a car pool line is the most soul-sucking activity ever invented. When it’s 90 degrees and raining and you can’t run the car’s A/C because you are staring at a sign that says Thank You for Keeping This is an Emissions-Free Zone, the arrival of some Dementors would be a blessed relief.

I tried reading the types of things you could read in the 15 seconds between taking your foot off the brake and inching ahead another six inches. I tried listening to audiobooks. I tried doing car isometrics, which were surprisingly easy to find on YouTube.

Sometimes though, I would just succumb to the stupor of it all and put my head back and nap. I could always count on the person behind me honking when the carpool line started moving. I’ve done it for others. I think the carpool line nap is one of the last sacred spaces of motherhood.

I have older kids now. I have the benefit of knowing that our little kids grow up into older kids who are smart, funny, and interesting. Since I know that kids just get better and better with age, it’s easier to say goodbye to those elementary school years. I know the best is yet to come.

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