Most years, I feel pretty ambivalent about summer and summer vacation.
I love the warm weather, going to the pool, and the general laid-back nature of things.
I don’t always love the lack of routine, sibling squabbles, and two full months of nonstop 24-7 togetherness.
But this time, I’m fully embracing summer because it gets us off the hellacious rollercoaster we loosely called “school” this year.
It’s safe to say none of us had ever experienced school the way we did over the past 16 months or so.
And none of us ever want to do so again.
For our family, the past year-and-change of school looked like last minute closures.
Then a summer of constantly changing guidance and plans, often conflicting with one another.
All leading, finally, to a school year that was all virtual, then part virtual, then very little virtual for some and more virtual for others (and completely virtual for still others).
There were schedule changes and bus changes and teacher changes and calendar changes and… and… and…
Now we’re all exhausted.
And I have neurotypical kids who excel in school.
I can’t even imagine the sh*tshow this school year was for parents trying to navigate IEPs, 504 plans, and accommodations for their special needs kiddos.
And it’s not just parents who are over it.
Anyone who works in a school undoubtedly limped, completely exhausted, to the finish line of this year. They’re all D.O.N.E.
The constant shifting of plans, or even the ever-present threat of a last minute shift in plans, took its toll on everyone — parents, teachers, administrators, and students.
There’s not one person connected to children or education who doesn’t deserve to take a massive break (and a massive margarita) right now.
So that’s exactly what we’re going to do.
This summer, my family is taking it easy.
We’re not overscheduling. We’re not participating in 8,000 events. We’re not enrolling in all the camps.
We’re embracing a schedule that’s controlled by us.
We’re participating in low-key activities that won’t be subject to cancellation at a moment’s notice.
We’ll use wifi and screens for video games and TV shows — not because we’re chained to them for painful Zoom chats and Seesaw/Schoology/Google Classroom/Whatever assignments.
Please don’t mistake any of this for a lack of appreciation. I am VERY grateful for everything my kids’ school and teachers did this year to try to make the best of a crappy situation.
But it was crappy and I’m just beyond thrilled to be done with it all.
Will there be struggles? Of course.
My children won’t magically transform into mythical creatures who never fight and obey my every word just because it’s summer.
But at least I won’t be anyone’s technology support professional.
I won’t be serving as my children’s virtual secretary.
No one will be busting in to interrupt my shower holding their Zoom-connected iPad.
For the next few months, the only rollercoasters we’ll be riding are actual rollercoasters.
Happy Summer to all!