The beginning of the school year is a frantic race of filling out forms in triplicate, getting health forms notarized and coordinating everyone's schedules. Then, there is the quest to find all the requested school supplies for each child. Every year there is one impossible to find school supply item. Erasable red pens. Plastic folders with prongs and pockets in six different colors. Index dividers in a quantity that doesn't exist. I suspect that's a test to profile parenting styles. Somehow, each child heads off to school with a clean backpack jammed full of school supplies begging to be used. It's all so beautiful that you take 127 pictures between the house and the bus stop.
Then, the school year comes to an end. The last week of school is the reverse of the beginning of the year. Backpacks with broken straps, jammed zippers and threadbare bottoms from dragging on the road come home with enough sticky, gooey crumbs and crusts to feed Stuart Little's entire family for a year. Plastic grocery bags crammed full of wadded papers, ripped folders and tiny nubs that were once pencils are unceremoniously deposited on the kitchen table. The middle child brings home more than two dozen books that made their way to school and disappeared into his locker. "I forgot it was still at school." The youngest girl brings home all the broken bits of crayon that the other children in the class were throwing in the trash. "I can color FOREVER with all this." Jackets that have been gone from home for so long they no longer fit anyone reappear from their mystery hiding spots in the school. Hazmat suits and gloves are donned to sort through the piles of stuff to determine what is salvageable and what will someday be a treasured memory.
I prefer the end of school for the additional time I'll get to spend with my children, but filling backpacks with crisp, clean supplies is soooo much easier than scrubbing glue and clay off of scissors to pack away for fall.