Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Like Sand Through the Hour Glass

The First Day of Kindergarten
"This will fly by", said my friend when Mary and Kate started kindergarten. "Hold on to your seat", they said, as the first day became the first month and then, before I knew it, kindergarten was over.

We just wrapped the final day of fourth grade. The school year, with it's rigid schedule, bounds us so tightly in our collective race to the finish line that, in our effort to get through to the next vacation day, we do miss the day to day joy of dragging our children out of bed at 6:00 A.M.

We start out with the best intentions. September lunches are packed the night before and include sushi, fried rice and black bean wraps. By May my children are eating snack pack applesauce, still frozen edamame and at least twice per week, the cheese lunch box from Starbucks. The clothes that fit, and matched, at the beginning of the year stretch to cover growing bodies in June. At the end of this annual race I'm happy to get them out the door in clothes that are clean: horizontal stripes on top, vertical stripes on the bottom but at least they are Downy fresh.

"How many days until summer?", not because we don't like school but because we are exhausted and deeply moved by the idea of sleeping until something exotic like say, 7:00 A.M.

Kindergarten just became the summer before fifth grade and the mountain of discarded days, those piled up in the race to finish math homework I scarcely understand before eating a hastily created dinner, showering and getting to bed at a time that will at least allow enough sleep so as to facilitate the impending early morning wake up, those days have been carelessly tossed aside in an effort to get through to the next. And the problem with this kind of daily sprint is that you do tend to miss out on the whole of days moving forward, taking us from one grade to the next. You see I don't actually know when the math homework moved from identifying the shape, which I did understand without question, to computing the area of complex three dimensional figures, which I absolutely do not. I wish I did.

The Last Day of Fourth Grade
My concern, because it is not that I like my soon to be fifth grade children any less than I liked my soon to be kindergarten children, is that these days continue to grow behind us as we race to a time when the girls move from my daily life to their daily life. And these days so casually cast aside in an effort to get, clean and well fed, to the next make up the time warp that is hurling us at lightning speed to a time without childhood. Which I believe is some sort of math problem but I can't be certain.

It's time to dig in and enjoy the slow day to day of summer, where being well fed means eating a few ripe strawberries after your second ear of corn on the cob and where math problems are created while lying in the grass looking at starts in the sky. These we remember, and savor, even as they move us from one day to the next.

1 comment:

Suz said...

ah so nice
I remember those days
now I watch my daughter go through it all
happily...but wearily...
racing through the day to get it all done
such truth you write...
who says racing through is not also enjoying?
enjoy the summer...too bad about the Hawks


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