To the Children Who Held On By a String

I loved school when I was young. All ages, all grades, almost all teachers. I felt sad when summer approached. I wanted to stay bottled in each grade, neatly wrapped next to my classmates and favorite books. I got teary eyed saying goodbyes and counted down the days until school started again.

Now as a parent, I get to experience a different kind of last day. One of my kids won an award for citizenship today. The other one got in a fight over a three-legged race. One soared through the school year and one held on by a string. They have different feelings about school ending. And I have different feelings for each of them. For Miss Citizenship, I want to tell her that I am so proud of her for doing her best.  For Miss Fighting, I want to tell her even more.  Because summer feels especially important for those who have needed this break since the day school started last year.

For my kid, and all the other kids who have waited for this day with bated breath, this is for you.

May you sleep peacefully this summer, undisturbed by classroom apprehension and lingering homework assignments.

May you run barefoot through the neighborhood, collecting splinters like Pokemon cards and trading them in at the end of the day for the promise of a popsicle if you will just leave your shoes on for 5 minutes. 

May the outdoors be your classroom, your curiosity your teacher, and your conscience your punishment for bad behavior.

May you play Minecraft until your fingers are numb.

May you experiment with the Ouija board, have nightmares after doing so, and never touch the thing again.

May you spend most of your day weighted down with wet clothes, drenched from the sprinklers or hose.

May you spend the rest of your day lifted up by water, swimming in the pool or a lake.

May you see fireworks, smell a campfire, and  eat S’mores until your stomach aches.

May you get transported into Hogwarts, Oz, Avonlea, Narnia, Wonderland, or Panem.

May your bike grace every front lawn in a one mile radius from your house.

May you forget even a few of the struggles from the school year.

May you swing high enough, fast enough, and long enough that you gain momentum for the next year. May you strengthen your string, bit by bit and day by day, until it looks thick enough to try again.

Because you also did your best this year. And I am also so proud of you.

Happy summer, my dears.

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