They already seemed older to me today. Something about the way they carried themselves. The way they kissed me goodbye on the playground steps. The way they ran off with their buddies only casually glancing over their shoulders long enough to toss me an obligatory wave.
But as much as it is emotionally wrenching to have to face the reality of their growing up, not even that seems to be quite as painful as this final week of school has been. No, really. Saying that it was a bit insane would be an insult to the insane. It was madness. Sheer chaos. And I just don't remember my last week of school ever having been this crazy, although I'm almost certain my parents would disagree.
One of the oddest and topsy-turviest things the kids got to do this week was a School Camp-out. So, here we go, rushing the morning of, to get them changed out of their sleep jammies and into "school jammies" (which really only means for us that all major body parts are adequately covered and then having to explain to them for the 150th time why they have to wear their underclothes with their pjs). Then we packed up their toothbrushes and a mini-toothpaste each in separate but equal ziploc bags. And packed up their lunches and a snack for 6 (times 2) to share with their assigned "sleepover" group.
So, now we've got their everyday backpack all bulging and ready to go. And we've got their sleeping bag backpack with attached water bottle all set and ready to go. And, of course, we've got a pillow each, a stuffed animal, and a nighttime book to share.
The pile of stuff outside of the classrooms that morning was just ridiculous. It looked like the back lot of a Salvation Army. And I was never more grateful that I hadn't been asked to volunteer than I was that day.
But, not surprisingly, the kids had a blast. They made fortresses in their rooms with sheets and tables. Their 3rd grade buddies came and read them bedtime stories. They ate a ton of stuff they'd never get from me. And came home with their robe pockets full of little pieces of paper with first names and phone numbers scribbled in color pencil and crayons in that undeniable first-grade handwriting.