Please summer, don't go

Getting ready for back-to-school when you're not ready

By Sarah Mayberry, M.P.H. - Producer

I shouldn't admit this, but I just unloaded my two oldest kids' backpacks from the last day of school last week. Fortunately, the last day was a half day, so there were no forgotten bananas or other biohazards awaiting me.

Why the delay? Because when we are done with school, we are done. And let's be honest, most schools are "done" by the end of May, even if they get out in June. Between Field Day, Movie Day (twice!) and all of the other fun events, the learning has pretty much wrapped up long before the last bell rings.

I've decided summer with kids can basically be divided into thirds.

Let's call the first one "Camp Chaos." It's basically the rest of June, when the school schedule is gone and parents are trying to get into the summer swing of things. Figuring out which kid needs what for which camp and when is a task worthy of a spreadsheet.

Side note: The mom of one of my daughter's friends actually sent me a spreadsheet with their camp schedule (in March!). It wasn't overkill. Their two girls were attending about seven different camps in between family vacations and trips to visit their grandparents. I am not that organized but boy do I wish I were!

But I digress. So first we have "Camp Chaos." Once we get that all sorted out, we shift to "Actual Summer Vacation."

This is basically the month of July. It's that blissful time of year when the weather is warm, the activities are over, and the weekend squares on the calendar are either fantastically empty or fantastically fun.

This is the month when we go on vacation and go to the pool. It's the month when we sit on the patio with neighbors late into the evening while our children play in sprinklers and run freely between our houses. It's the month where we (mostly) have nowhere to be and all the time in the world to get there.

Then it all comes crashing to an end.

The final third of summer starts at different times based on when you head back to school, but in our house, it starts to shift the first week of August.

It starts innocently enough. First, we have to sign up for my daughter's fall dance schedule. Then one day, my phone is "ping, ping, pinging" as my son's soccer schedule starts to pop in. Then the alerts from the school arrive, with reminders about "Meet the Teacher Night" and supply lists. Suddenly the squares on the calendar are filling in faster than at a senior center on Bingo Night.

Let's face it folks, "Actual Summer Vacation" is over. It's time for "Back to School."

While the actual first day of school is technically after Labor Day, it's now time to gear up like we're heading into battle. There are back-to-school clothes to buy, activity schedules to sort out, and about a million other details that are suddenly clamoring for our attention.

Tell me I'm not the only one who wants to wants to hide on the patio and pretend it's still July? Seriously, is it all over already? Please summer, don't go.

Alas, responsibility is calling. It's time to track down a four pack of dry erase markers, the right kind of crayons, and boatload of hand sanitizer.

Summer, we barely knew you.

Don't get me wrong. Back to school is an exciting time, too. New teachers, old friends, a fresh start. It's also the gateway to football, fall fun, and pumpkin spice lattes.

But there's just something about summer. The freedom, the weather, the seemingly endless possibilities for fun. Until next time summer.

Now where did I put those lunch boxes?

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