Did I say September was the worst? I might have to retract that and put May in the top spot. It’s two weeks until school gets out and, to put it lightly, and quote the Party Rockin Anthem by LMFAO, “Everyday I’m shuff-a-ling.’”

It’s 10:55pm and I’m sorting through my overgrown email inbox like a ninja with a machete in a dark and scary forest, because, yeah, that’s the best I can come up with for a simile at the moment. My email is jammed with everything from summer camp payments due, end of the year gifts, last day of school parties, sports banquets, ceremonies honoring this and that, inductions for that kid for something, freakin’ Field Day…don’t even get me started on how many of those I’ve been to. Let’s just say, I could have a Ph.D in Field Day by now.

And if you think I can keep all of these emails straight, you are mistaken. I honestly don’t even know which kid most of them refer to. One got invited to an end of the year pool party, but I don’t know which one. Can someone give me a clue in the message as to what grade we are talking about? I do still know which grade which kid is in. I’m hanging onto this.

In case you haven’t been following my life through my blog or get the pleasure of hearing me lament about this in person, I’m finishing up year two of three kids in three different schools. I’ve got a 10th, 8th and, lord help me, a 3rd grader. It’s a super fun-fest, especially in the beginning of the year and the end of the year when suddenly we have to put ourselves in a spastic frenzy of events and deadlines because, I don’t know, we collectively as a people have decided we hate free time?

And I’m sucking it up. I. Can’t. Keep. All. These. Balls. In. The. Air.

For instance, tonight I got a text from a friend asking my how my daughter was available for a league tennis match on Saturday and not going to the high school tennis team party at the lake? Ah, the tennis team party at the lake…yes, that does ring a bell. Well, she’s also doing Relay for Life, so I guess I’ll just clone her in my spare time so she can do both…while playing the match. Ugh. But good thing my friend inquired because she casually said she’d see me at the tennis banquet, which reminded me that I hadn’t gotten any info other than the time. I panic. She forwards me the email and my email address is wrong! Now, three days before the blessed event I have not RSVPed and don’t even know if it’s too late. But whatevs. This is just one kid, mind you, over one weekend. I have two others I might not disappoint. The bar is low.

And I love that the end of the year is full of crafty projects because the kids are burnt out and unable to concentrate. I love putting together a Thomas Paine costume and some 18th century props. I love when my 8th grader has to make a solar powered engine, or something like that. I’m barely paying attention while she is probably Phineasing and Ferbing it in the backyard. “Sure I’ll sign for plutonium, just leave me alone!” End of the year projects are the seven levels of hell right here on earth. Is it seven levels or eleven? Probably eleven. That devil is an overachieving bastard.

And schools think they are being super helpful by emailing you every minute detail of the scheduling day. I promise you I don’t care if 7th period is moved to 2nd period due to testing. I assure you I won’t be in either period doing testing or not doing testing. Even the high school is sending out lengthy spreadsheets on the daily to let me know when every test is being taken. I seriously don’t even understand why I need this information. I want to reply every day and say, “Hey, thanks for sharing. I love how intimate things are between us. What are you wearing?” Just let me know if something needs to happen other than my kid being there at the start of school and leaving at the end of school, otherwise, I’m good.

The only time of the year I’m thankful my kids have zero musical ability is the end of the year. One less chorus concert I have to sit through like a petulant child contemplating why the choral director hates his audience so much he won’t pick even one recognizable, enjoyable selection in a language I speak. Add him to the list of people I want to punch in the face. Sorry, still suffering from A Requiem of Post Traumatic Chorus Concert Disorder.

And you know what else I love about the end of the year? Playoff tournaments because nothing says you can juggle three kids and three sports like, “Hey, not sure what time we are playing, who were are playing, or where we are playing.” Don’t worry. I’m flexible. I’ll just block off the rest of my life, and some of my afterlife, and hopefully that will suffice. Go team!

And then there are the dances. The dresses. The shoes. The accessories. Add in the graduations. Second verse, same as the first. And, the sports banquets. Just “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt” it all day long. I swear, I don’t know how “she” does it and the she is me.

And like a good oxymoron, the end of the year offers no real ending at all, only a continual cycle of pain and suffering the likes of picking classes for next year, signing up for fall sports by June 6th, because that makes perfect sense, and trying to secure a parking space at the church near your high school because when they built it four years ago they failed to do the math about enrollment of students and needed parking spaces. Or maybe they did it using that new math we all love so much. Carry the five, or don’t, whatever.

Well, it’s May 12th and the spots at the church are all taken with a hefty waiting list, because I had the audacity to think I might be able to purchase a spot three months in advance of the first day of school. Nope. I’m as out of luck as you are if you are looking for a bathing suit in May; the few remaining size 0s bottoms and double-D tops are on the clearance rack, just behind the winter parkas. Have at it.

It’s a toss up on which is more labor intensive and maddening, the back to school stuff or the end of year madness. We could sit around and debate it if we didn’t have to shop for end of the year gifts. But I will say this, at least if you survive the back to school insanity you can look forward to your kids being out of the house for a decent chunk of the day.

Here’s the kicker about the end of the year madness, the big reward is now the kids are home all day every day. You can refer to my feelings on the joys of kids and summer in my blog, “An Open Letter To My Kids About Summer.” In short, good luck getting anything else done, especially if you work from home and smartly think, “I don’t need help, just a few camps.” That should end well.

As you face the end of school madness just remember in a few short weeks you’ll be standing in a Staples with a tattered school supply list feeling pretty sure that September is the Worst. But at least the bathing suits will be out for next summer!

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  1. I absolutely love your blog! I too have one in high school, one in middle school, and a first grader (yeah, didn’t think that one through long term!!). Most of the time I feel you are writing about me. It is very refreshing to know I am not the only one who gets every notice sent out by the school district, usually in triplicate, because I have a kid in each school. Thanks for the many laughs!

  2. God….I don’t have kids in elementary, middle or high school anymore. They are all in college. I thought I had pushed those nightmarish times to the dark, dusty, cobwebbed recesses of my mind. Now you have pulled them to the forefront and I started getting the sweats and anxiety. That was my least favorite part of the year. Seriously, towards the end I just decided not to fight it. I would ride out that last six weeks of school, not panic and just understand that the madness would all end soon. Just roll with it. Buy gift cards for all teachers, coaches, aids, sunday school teachers etc. Buy bulk cupcakes and freeze them for all the stupid snacks you have to send to little league, dance, girl scout , end of year parties. Then when it is all done grab your girlfriends and go see Bad Moms!

  3. Amen.. times 1000.. every single bit of this… i only have 2 boys AND i’m room mom this year for youngest… b/c why wouldn’t i be? it’s a slow race to the finish & i checked out along w/my kids weeks ago…

  4. Ha! I feel this way with just 2 kids so saying a little prayer for you friend. I guess that’s why I may not have received a response from you regarding going on a hike. I feel the same way, but if I don’t take a breather and sweat in a class or get outdoors I will lose my mind in this end of the year madness. Well here’s to getting through the next 2 weeks.

  5. This all rings so true… had three kids too and went through the start- and end-of-school-year madness. Now my youngest is about to graduate high school and, well… it’s bittersweet for sure. Boo.

  6. Last frontier of personal space, my car… OMG…. Sooooooo funny…
    Love that you call us out on hating free time… Great line… Completely agree… There are too many gems in this one… My favorite so far… Now I have to send out emails for LionsHeart and go grab teachers gifts while I sign up for freaking Field day!! ?

  7. Phinneas and Ferbing something— I knew I wasn’t the only person who used this reference! Love your blog, sister!

  8. Thank you for getting me through the end of the year with a laugh, finally!
    Glad I am not the only Mom feeling this way.

  9. Just came across your blog via your letter to kids about summer! I think you are my spirit animal, soul mate and maybe the only other person that truly gets me!!!!
    I have 5 kids (college sophomore, hs senior, 6th grader and two 4th graders) and am constantly questioning why they have to cram all this stuff into the end of the year?!!! We live in the midwest and I can tell you that we could use some cheery activity in the middle of February, like a chorus concert – albeit in English thank you, not in May when everything else on the planet is happening!!!! Oh, and did I mention I work full time? Yeah.
    Just a sampling from our May: soccer tournaments, end of year teacher gifts, science fair, new clothes for everyone since they have grown out of everything they own, show choir concert, field trips, field day, 5th grade graduation (when did that become a thing?), moving a college student home for the summer, fine arts banquet, lego club build off, boy scout banquet and lets not forget all the summer camp signups that are due!!!!
    Thank you for putting a voice on paper to the one that has been screaming inside my head for the entire month of May! Here’s hoping we all come out alive at the end of the summer!

  10. This. Is. awesome. I have one in college, one graduating high school, one in 11th grade and….a 5th grader! Oy vey. And we had suoergames (field day on steroids) yesterday. And the #^*£! 5th grade poster due. And my 20 year has cleaned her dorm room-or wait, she’s home For the summer-in a month. So, I did the ultimate…I changed the Netflix password. Things started happening then I tell ya!

  11. This was just great. Completely relatable. Two schools, so many emails – add in that they embed the most important information in the bottom through an attached document or link. Senior emptied his backpack today & I found no less than 10 sheets of paper intended for me….instructions about AP tests, information about prom (over a month ago), cap & gown ordering, etc. How did I fumble through, looking through the calendar & emails – it wasn’t easy! Going to be fun to watch & see what I didn’t do right or at all. Thanks for the giggles. Onward to June!

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