Blueberry Microwave Jam
Originally published August 2010
We're in countdown mode. 18 days from now we pack the girls up for the sandy shores of Cape Cod.
I need this vacation. It feels like the last year has pummeled my spirits and pushed me to the limits. Life is supposed to be easier as the girls grow up, right? Well, if your kids are approaching school-age, let me give you a tip. Enjoy the life of leisure that is pre-K. Savor the relaxed pace of Kindergarten.
It all ends come first grade.
I will not sugar-coat the experience. I'll even go so far to say it was easier the first time around when you did it yourself. Went through elementary school, that is. See back then you didn't know the answers, so it was all a matter of discovery. Unchartered waters.
The second time around, you'll find yourself thinking who cares if my kid know which sign is greater or less than. I mean, who really needs to know these symbols to prepare for life? Sure the concept is important, but why the symbols? Is it to prepare us, or them, for the symbolism of life?
I don't have the answer to that question. All I know is we were sent home this past June with a 22-ounce packet of homework that is supposed to help prepare Isabella for second grade in September. Whatever happened to fun in the sun? Since when did we abandon the "school's out for the summer" tradition?
The last week I've lost my cool a bit more than I should admit, and it all revolved around that homework packet. Sometimes it takes the silliest moments to put things in perspective. For me, it was today's mommy-daughter matinee of Ramona & Beezus. As we walked to the theater and stopped at Sahadi's for gummy bears, I let out a sigh of relief. It felt good to take the day off and be with my girl.
The next two hours I flashed back to my childhood, curled up with Beverly Cleary, except this time her message was on the big screen, and not a jumble of words I was just learning to decipher. If you read the series, then you remember Ramona was spirited, a free-thinker, full of imagination and hope—all qualities adulthood has a way of crushing from us like a clove of garlic ready for the skillet.
I glanced at my daughter and finally decided to let go of that homework packet. At least for the afternoon. While all of her friends are getting wide-eyed about High School Musical, she's thrilled to watch The Munsters. While we were in the book store, her hands shot right past Justin Beiber and the tween magazines, as she reached for a Sparkle World glossy, filled with the Rainbow Fairies and My Little Pony. The kid is seven, and the way I see it, I'm going to embrace the "I Won't Grow Up" sentiment—even if it means accepting her boycotting her summer homework packet. Her love of reading is already there, and now we have a new friend to check out at the library. Just wait until she discovers the wonder that is Judy Blume.
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