Friday, May 31, 2024

When your life is no longer governed by the academic calendar

The AI Blog Post Image Generator tried so hard.

Every weekday morning on my drive to the office, I pass an elementary school. Unless I'm especially early or late, or unless it happens to be a bank/government holiday, the 20mph school zone lights are always flashing as I approach.

Recently, though, for the first time in a while, the lights weren't on.

Initially I didn't understand why that would be. It was 7:45am, prime school arrival time. It was a Wednesday. I couldn't imagine why the kids might be off that day.

Then it hit me.

It was late May. School was out for the summer. The kids wouldn't be back for nearly three months.

It was the first time I realized that virtually every school district around me was on break. It just hadn't occurred to me before.

Not coincidentally, this past year was also the first time since 1998-99 that Terry and I had no kids in school.

For 25 years, we lived within the confines of the academic calendar. Our lives were directly affected by teachers workshops, spring breaks, band concerts, sporting events, and everything else you as a parent experience in the course of the school year.

And now, apart from my PA announcing gigs, that schedule means almost nothing to us. The last day of school  an annual milestone that would have been ingrained in my mind in years past  was irrelevant.

To the point that I didn't even know the kids were on break.

It was strangely disconcerting. Just another little thing to adjust to in our post-secondary parenting lives.

When you're raising kids, there are all kinds of "firsts" and "lasts." And when you have multiple children, the "lasts" aren't truly "last" until your last kid.

Then they go away forever. Just like my recognition of where we were in the year and how teachers and kids had already been set free for the next 11 weeks without me being the least bit aware.

Cut me a little slack. I'm still an empty nester in training.

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