5 Telltale Signs It's the End of the School Year

Good thing we have all year to recover. Because it all happens again next June.
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Who needs the calendar or steady barrage of Father's Day shopping circulars to tell you that June is here? These five phenomena occur like clockwork when the waning days of the academic year are upon us.


1. You're Broke.
Between the gifts for the classroom teacher, the teacher's aides, the piano teacher, the math tutor, the babysitter graduating high school who wasn't much for cleanup but at least she could walk home, and the niece graduating college after the five-year plan, you are clean out of $20 bills. (Apologies if you are more of $100 bill gifter, I didn't mean to insult you. Can I please be your babysitter?) It gets so bad that you could almost use a second job. But you can't do that, because...

2. Your Productive Workday Has Been Shot to Hell.

You have to be up at school to see the end-of-year talent show, of course, and your child would never forgive you for missing out on the end-of-year class picnic. Then the school districts get in on the act, fulfilling some budgetary or union contract obligation by cutting a bunch of June school days in half. Your to-do list becomes an archive, saved in its non-checked-off state for future generations to admire. It's enough to make you run for comfort to the cookie jar, which is full because...

3. You Have Baker's Elbow.
Brownies for the ballet recital, pound cake for the Little League team party, chocolate chip cookies for the celebration of a completed Social Studies group project; you're churning them out like your middle name is Poppin' Fresh. You would like to buy stock in King Arthur Flour and Betty Crocker, but can't get out of the kitchen long enough to log onto E*trade. And if you're going anywhere past the stove, it's going to be to the laundry room because...

4. The Lunch Bags Look Like They've Been Beaten.
Bruised, torn, bearing tiny flecks of unidentifiable foreign substances that may or may not be mold, the insulated lunch boxes that started off the year in bright primary colors have been reduced, through constant improvised use as seats, soccer balls, and weapons, to an indistinguishable grayish brown. You weigh running them through the washer one last time. But would it be the cycle that finally separates the strap from the rest of the bag? That would probably make you cry, because...

5. You Burst Out Crying At Inopportune Times.
It's the inevitable result of being handed concrete evidence, in the form of a graduation certificate or a class council election, that Your Children Are Growing Up. The ultimate example was when our daughter's kindergarten teacher rewrote Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar to describe all the knowledge that our children had hungrily gobbled up throughout the year. Then she had them hold up wobbly, colorful pictures they'd drawn of butterflies and said, "And now you are beautiful butterflies who will fly off to first grade!" Twenty-three moms, 15 dads, and one kindergarten teacher hit the deck sobbing, delaying the children's American Sign Language performance of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" until we'd (temporarily) recovered our composure.

Good thing we have all year to recover. Because it all happens again next June.