School’s Out for the Summer

We have some fun end-of-school traditions in our house. Every year on the last day of school my kids and I recite this silly little poem:

Flip flops, water fights


Lazy days, up all nights


Beach hair and sun kissed skin


School is out and SUMMER IS IN!

It is followed by a huge water balloon fight, which includes all the kids in the neighborhood. I make an end-of-school cake; we drink lemonade and stay outside until the last little bit of the sun sets. Sometimes we stay out later and see if we can catch lightning bugs. When our tummies start to rumble we order in pizza, which of course is followed by another piece of cake (it is summer after all). Stomachs full, we all take showers and then pile onto my bed where we curl up together and look through the kids’ school yearbook. It is our way of ending one chapter and beginning new.

I have a confession … it is my favorite part of the year. Yes, I said it and yes, I am the same woman who puts an end-of-summer countdown clock on my blog home page. By the end of summer I am so ready for my kids to go back to school; but there is something special and almost magical about the beginning of summer.

I have another confession … I actually look forward to looking through their yearbooks. My favorite part is all the silly little signatures at the end. It brings me back to the days of my youth. Remember the corny but sweet remarks you used to write? Not the boring “Have a great summer” or “See you next year.” I’m talking about the ones like “2 Good + 2 Be = 4 Gotten” which was always followed with little hearts for some reason. What about the one where you turn the yearbook upside down so you can sign it “I’m the clown that came to town to sign your yearbook upside down!”

I know times have changed. But surely the kids of today have come up with some jewels of their own – what with all their text message jargon and social media savvy. I was almost drooling over what was surely going to be a great laugh. I quickly tried paging through all the boring class photos shaking my head in agreement when my daughter went on and on about how Kelly looks so much better with her new haircut, and how Ian is really much cuter but he sneezed when they took that shot. I gave the proper “You don’t say” response when my son told me all about how Dennis had to sit out of the Safety Patrol picture because he kept doing bunny years behind Amanda J.’s head. We continued page after page, class after class and story after story.

Finally the time had come, we had reached the end. My fingers trembled in anticipation. Slowly, wanting to enjoy every moment I turned to what once were blank pages. Then I saw it! In the back of my son’s fifth grade yearbook: A bunch of girl’s names followed by phone numbers. No messages, no jokes just girl’s names and phone numbers! Surely this was some kind of mistake. I flipped back seeing if I missed something. Where were the sweet messages? Where were the jokes? Where were the boy’s signatures? I know he has male friends too. I was speechless, which for me is a rarity. I actually think I let out a groan of disappointment. My son must have sensed my surprise for he patted me on the back and said, “What can I say mom? There are lots of fish in the sea and I am quite the fisherman!”

And there you have it. What was supposed to be an end-of-summer much-awaited treat turned into a Finding Nemo episode! Goodbye school, hello Tylenol!

Sharon Fuentes is a freelance writer and mom and has officially begun her countdown until the kids go back to school.