(Middle) School’s Out Forever!

This morning, my daughter caught the middle school bus for the last time.  She’ll return barely four hours later (early release at 10:20, classes twelve minutes long.) I packed her last eighth grade lunch yesterday (no more washing of the thermos and tupperware salad containers for a couple of months).  Actual school work, of course, ended a while ago.  The final week is a mere formality, a period loosely filled with awards ceremonies, desk and locker cleanings, movie-watching, yearbook signings, and saying goodbye.

It’s hard to believe that all those highly anticipated school events requiring so much preparation are now in the past.  Guys and Dolls, in which D played the faithful Mission girl, Agatha, is ancient history.  The music department’s competition at Busch Gardens: barely visible in the rearview mirror.  The same goes for Mayfest Playfest, a day of short plays written and performed by local middle schoolers throughout the county.  Standards of Learning exams in reading, geometry, civics and science: duly completed and scored.  (Eight years ago, when D began elementary school and we first heard of the SOLs, my husband found the acronym hilarious.)  The eighth grade dance: over.  Year-long projects: researched, written, presented, evaluated and returned.  Exams: completed and graded.  End-of-year orchestra concert (featuring a beautiful rendition of I Dreamed a Dream): it’s history.   The final, quite comical performance by the drama class (30 Reasons Not to be in a Play):  c’est finit.  

When D returns home very shortly, she’ll be accompanied by a crowd of friends. I’ll drive them to the pool, and summer will begin.

When school resumes in the fall, our only child, our baby, will be a high schooler.  H and I graduate to another, if not more mature, then at least more elderly parenting bracket.

Seventy-six days of summer stretch out before us.  Once, ages ago, that sounded like an eternity to me.  Now I know how quickly the season will pass.  Every year, I vow to appreciate these precious days, to relish each one for what it brings.  I don’t really like the expression, but I’ll use it anyway:  I’ll try to be present for these fleeting days of summer.  They will vanish in a flash, as always.  We’ve been waiting in line 180 days for our turn on summer’s roller coaster.  The cars are pulling up, and soon we’ll be inching up that first hill.  This season, I will pay attention and enjoy the ride.  I hope you do, as well!

My daughter and a fellow actor as Mission Girls in the school musical, Guys & Dolls.


D made these “Lazt Day” earrings (no more s’s in the abc beads) in 6th grade. She has worn them once a year ever since.