Nine months ago I sent my newly minted kindergartener off to school with a fresh set of markers, perfectly pointy crayons, a brand new clean lunchbox, and an excitement to be a part of something bigger, a community of kids with their own job and a place to do it. She was nervous and thrilled.

And she had a great year. My daughter really blossomed. She loved her teachers and her classmates and soaked up new ideas like a sponge. It was wonderful…

…but also a bit like running a marathon. Here we are, coming into the 26th mile, and we are limping and tired. The markers are mostly dried up, the crayons long ago reduced to stubs, and the lunchbox unrecognizable.

In the same way we longed for structure and routine in the fall, we now long for freedom and the type of laziness that is permitted only in summer. After school today we are going to sit down for five minutes and look at each other and say “phew.” And then SLOW WAY DOWN.

In summer we like to eat meals on the fly, take a little more time for each other, use up all the sunlight in a day, and pass out happily in bed at night with dirty feet and ice cream stomachs.

But we won’t leave it all behind because the real miracle of this year – and the thing that my daughter will take with her into every lazy summer day and into every day for the rest of her life – is that she learned to read.  We all know what an awesome thing that is to do!

And this is the beauty of the summer vacation. Work hard all year, learn as much as you can, practice, practice, practice, finish the school year strong…and relax.

Summer is the time to try out all those newfound skills on your own and as you wish. Swing in a hammock and read books you don’t have time for during school – or that are just too silly for the classroom. Lie on your back and look at the stars, catch a cricket, or grow a cucumber. Buy an ice cream with your own money and see how much you have left. Take time to ponder all the things you’ve learned and heard and practiced.

Mmmm, I can’t wait.

My daughter is sad to leave school but thrilled to take her ability to read and her newfound confidence out into the world and make it her own. I can’t wait to see what she does with it all.

Thank you, school, for the gifts we are about to enjoy. Now, let’s get out there and have some fun!

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