Yay. It’s the last day of school. 

Today was the last day of school for my kids. I’m so happy I could cry. 

Hold on a minute. Just waiting for the tears to come. 


Still waiting. 

Huh. Never mind. 


Jesse had the worst year ever.  it was undoubtedly a terrible horrible no good very bad school year. She didn’t even get to enjoy the simple pleasure of a half-day to close out the year — because every day of 4th grade has been a half day for her. 

When I picked Jesse up today, I also had to carry out two heavy boxes of her therapeutic materials. My biceps almost failed on the walk to the car. It was an apt reminder of how burdensome and challenging this year has been for our family. But we never gave up by pulling Jesse from school entirely, so I guess that’s something. 

I know I know, I’m channeling my Debbie Downer these days. Believe me, I’m well aware of it. I’ve lost my grumpy! How did it happen? How did I move from energetically grumpy to morose and self-pitying?  I need to find my way back to grumpy. 

I can’t believe I just said that. I’ve finally found a feeling worse than grumpy.  

Right, what? Oh, Jesse. Not only did she have a shitty school year, but she didn’t even get to enjoy a school-just-ended afternoon by settling down in a catatonic haze to enjoy marshmallows, ice cream, microwave taquitos, and a Sponge Bob marathon. Instead, it was right back to Rogers for another afternoon of therapy. 

Jesse is so exhausted from all this therapy. After working super hard to control herself at school in the mornings, she’s been passing out on the long drive to Rogers. It’s pretty cute. 

So this afternoon, instead of chilling out post-4th-grade, off we drove to Oconomowoc. I woke Jesse when we arrived, and in we marched to therapy. I displayed to her 3 x 5 cards on which I’ve carefully printed a variety of taboo words like


and invited her to resist really hard the urge to blurt those words. 

Good times. 


Nick, by contrast, had a spectacular year in kindergarten. He went through periods of shyness and he lacks academic self confidence, but he’s enthusiastic, cheerful, and hard-working (for a six-year-old). Plus he has fun with other kids. I can’t exaggerate how much of a relief this is, after Jesse’s rocky road through her wee years. 

Nick’s teacher says he is definitely ready for first grade. But I will admit: I don’t know what that means. 

Nick wrote this two-sided poem-like thing for Anthony a couple days ago:

If you happen to be having difficulty reading that for some reason, like if your adult intellect has been compromised by normal spelling and American English speech patterns, allow me to explain and interpret. 

In kindergarten, it’s all about phonemic spelling these days. Learn letter sounds, and then spell it like you say it. Nick is quite good at it. I’ll adjust a little on the letters to fix the reversals and mistakes; you just say what you read below, out loud, to sound like Nick:

“To dad, fu-womb Nick. Foe-st it wains, then it sews the sun. The wain-bow is made and the wain-bow is boo-de-fuh. 

“Oh-voe the mountain the wain-bow goes. Makes mow boo-de-fuh.”

I hope that makes things clearer. 

Meanwhile, I am to conclude that Nick is ready for first grade. Huh. 

Also next fall he starts speech therapy. 


That rainbow mountain poem will go up on our free art wall, which joins the kitchen area to the mudroom. 

I fancied fine art, made by local artists, in this beautiful open space. I came close. Our cracked post-renovation budget led me to hand a roll of scotch tape to the kids instead of browsing at local galleries. So… The artists are definitely extremely local, and then just replace “ine” with “ree” after the F. 

I admit though, I do like the child-populated art wall. The only troubling piece is this demented take on the Lorax:

That photo of Nick is larger than life-size, and what is with his bony forehead? I get the creeps when I walk too close to it. 

And I surmise that this is the kind of activity they do in kindergarten to get ready for first grade. 

Huh. Maybe Nick actually is ready. He certainly makes a formidable-looking advocate for the trees. 


And of course, I went through the traditional parental entropy that accompanies the final weeks of school. Twice in the past week I simply forgot to make Nick’s lunch. Today, I offered him puffed Cheetos as his snack — a last-day-of-school treat, how awesome am I?

Nick actually balked, insisting on something more healthy. And I actually replied, “I’m not doing it. If you want a healthy snack, ask your dad.”

Anthony rummaged deep in high cupboards, well above my line of sight, and pulled a clif “Z bar” out of the kitchen’s apparent anus. I don’t even know what a Z bar is. Where did it come from, and when? My kids hate packaged bars. We didn’t deign to check for an expiration date. Anthony held it up on display, announcing in a firm and grim voice, “this is healthier.” He shoved it in Nick’s backpack without further ado. 

Then I promised Nick that, when I picked him up after school, I would bring his Kylo Ren light saber and a picnic lunch so he could play with friends on the playground. He’s wanted me to bring his light saber after school time and again all year, and I’ve never gotten around to it. I was determined to do right by him today. 

As it turned out, I didn’t have much of a picnic in me. I filled a water bottle and grabbed that blessed bag of cheese puffs. Done. In a final fail, I forgot the light saber on my way out the door. 

I’m still an awesome mom, because first I pretended I didn’t forget it, and then I pretended it didn’t matter (it did), and then I ignored Nick’s nattering and told him to go play. He’s an easy-going kid, so he swallowed his disappointment and seems to have forgiven me. I suffered no negative consequences at all for screwing this up for him. Hurray for me!

Now I can’t wait to spend a long summer with the kids, letting them down one way or another, hour after hour, day after day, and hoping to get away with it. Wish me luck.

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