J’s last week of school was uneventful. As you heard, she skipped part of Monday. On Tuesday, her entire grade had a field trip to Grafton Lakes Park, and lucky for them, the weather was great. She had brought along her volleyball and had coordinated a potluck picnic lunch with her friends, so that was a roaring success.
We were all pretty annoyed that J’s last day of school was a full day of school. Historically, the kids would have a very short half-day, which makes total sense, because it’s not like you’re going to get any learning done, anyway. For years and years, J has hosted friends over for a celebratory lunch party after school on the last day. That particular tradition stretches back to when the kids were little, and I was basically trying to help out the parents who were at work so that they didn’t have to deal with child care and also because, let’s face it, even if the kids were used to going to after-care in the school cafeteria each day, having to spend the last day of school in school seems like it would suck. It was really fun, and so we were sad that this was the first time that we didn’t host anything. The middle school day ends at 3:15 pm, and then J had to do her volleyball league that evening, so there wasn’t really enough time to host at all. She did go and hang out with a friend, but it felt a bit like the end of an era.
One of J’s last tasks of the school year was to fill out an application to be a W.E.B. leader, so I was excited about that. It stands for “Where Everyone Belongs,” and it’s basically a committee of volunteers who welcome 6th graders and give parents directions at Back to School Nights and such. When J said that she was going to do it, I was thrilled. This is exactly the kind of activity that M refused to do in middle school. Seriously, throughout middle school, M played soccer, and once she abandoned chorus, soccer’s basically all she did. At the time, I was wondering if I was going to have to force her to join something in high school, but it worked out well and now she’s super-busy, or at least during the school year she is. J, by contrast, is a joiner. Halleluja! She does Best Buddies, Visibility Club, Ski Club, and No Place for Hate. Whoop, whoop!
Of course, upon hearing about the W.E.B. leader application, M was a complete and total pain in the ass. “Ugh, don’t do that,” she told J. “It’s lame.” Of course we all smacked her down, especially since now that she’s in high school, M does basically the same thing in a group called Natural Helpers. Which she particularly enjoys, especially because sometimes she gets to meet the brand-new transfer students and give them a tour, and she’s even going to be co-president of that club next year. In other words, not only is it not lame, but she was lame not to realize that it was not lame years ago when she was in middle school. I tell you: that girl can be tiresome. But meanwhile I have been unwilling to convince either girl that student council isn’t lame. I was giving one of J’s friends a ride a while back, and she does student council, and I thought: here’s my opportunity to get her interested. So I asked what her favorite part of student council was, and J’s friend answered, “Well, sometimes the advisor brings in donuts, which is great. . . .” Then she trailed off, thinking. After a long pregnant pause full of pondering, she nodded. “Yeah. We don’t actually do much, so the donuts are the really best part.” Oh, well.
Meanwhile, M was already done with school and finals, but she spent last week trotting to various soccer try outs. For those of you who are not chest-deep in club soccer culture, June is the season for deciding on what soccer club team you’ll join for the following academic year. Which, yes, seems a little crazy since they don’t get started until after the school season ends roughly 5 or 6 months later. But that’s how it’s done. M spent four years with Black Watch, then moved to GPS last year in part because we weren’t sure that there would be Black Watch team. Next year. . . well, we’ll see. I think that she’s likely to leave GPS, which made that final weekend of playing soccer with them all a little awkward. But deciding anything for sure is tough. In addition to trying to figure out the club culture, there’s trying to figure out if you like the coach’s style (even though the coach may very well change) and if you like your prospective teammates (even though many of them are “shopping” at soccer try outs, too), and if you can fit in the team’s schedule with everything else you’re doing (even though those schedules are tentative, at best). Oh, and they’re try outs, which means that it’s possible that you could decide that you want to join a team that doesn’t actually want you. M’s a strong player, yes, but until the coach has told you that they want you, you don’t know for sure. So that’s a little stressful. We’ll all feel better when it’s resolved–stay tuned.