The alarm rings. I look at the time, snooze for ten minutes and turn on my back to see my little one lying next to me. Okay, so he has wandered in during the night and is now sleeping spread-eagled, occupying most of the bed, having kicked my husband as close to the edge of the bed as one can go without actually falling off. I find myself smiling as I pull the covers on them. My little one has his exam today and unless I get started in the kitchen now, he’s sure to miss his paper.
I am trudging to the bathroom, dragging my feet and cursing the early hour, when suddenly it occurs to me that it is not only my little one’s exam today, it is his last exam paper! It is the last day of school! I do a little dancing jig and almost trip on the bathroom mat. And then I rush to the bedroom to wake the guys up, with a spring in my step!
Oh yes, it is the last paper today. Yay! Another academic year finished! No more worrying about the school schedule, no more ironing the uniform in a hurry, no more hurried breakfasts and fights about finishing the milk before we have to leave; no more struggles to make my little one study, no more threatening him with dire consequences when he doesn’t switch off his TV when asked, no more screaming to get him to stop playing right then! No more confirming and re-confirming with fellow parents about a certain chapter being or not being a part of exam portions. No more sleepless nights (for me) worrying about that one trick question that the teacher would surely ask to trip even the best of the geniuses! No more. No more!
As I wake him up, I tell my little one it is the last day of school; and for good measure I say it in a sing song voice. My husband wakes up with a happy smile on his face, “so you are off the hook now, huh?” he says to me. My little one though, buries his head in the pillow, and refuses to wake up, “No! I don’t want to go today!” he screams into the pillow. I stare at him dumbly! What?!
Turns out, he isn’t very happy about the whole ‘last day of school” idea. Instead, he feels extremely sad. Sad that he won’t be able to see his friends any more (yes the very same ones he would complain about sometimes and the ones he would fight with too). He is apparently also sad that he won’t be seeing his teachers anymore (yes, the very same teacher who during the entire year complained about the smallest of irregularities my little one showed, while ignoring the more serious things other kids would do). My little one is also apparently sad that he would not now meet the older kids he was sitting for the exam with; as next year they would start middle school and he wouldn’t get to see them around.
But I am not in the mood to be taken down. Ah, it’s all part of growing up, I tell him. He may feel like he is missing out on all his friends, but he should look forward to meeting new friends next year.
Maybe he will miss his teachers from this year, but he will get new ones! New classroom, new books, and most importantly, he would be among the oldest kids in elementary school! And when even that fails to improve his mood, I use the trump card (no pun intended)! I remind him he would get to use the cool ink-pen next year while all the younger classes would still be using pencils! And that, finally, gets his grumpy self out of bed!
As I head back after dropping him off at school, I realise I am feeling really happy! I am feeling free! Now is finally the time when I can concentrate on my work without worrying about the fact that my little one needs to revise his subjects one more time before the exam, now is the time when I can concentrate exclusively on my deadlines and not on the school schedule! Now is finally the time!
As the morning progresses, I get engrossed in work and as the time nears to go pick my little one up from school, I am apprehensive as to what mood he would be in. I have to admit, his feeling all sad about the last day of school did play a little with on my feelings too. And as I drive to the school, I find myself feeling a bit down, now that the initial euphoria of my morning is wearing down. At the school, I find many parents lining up at the pick-up gate. Several non-regulars are there too, no doubt there for the special occasion of the ‘last day of school’. And I notice that there is a wonderful glow on most of their faces, and I know that the hot weather is not the only reason for it!
The kids come out of school with mixed feelings. Most of the younger lot are just plain happy! And I spy a few older ones huddling together, walking as a group. I see my little one come out with a few of his friends and as we leave, he asks if we can go for ice-cream. It has been a tradition in our family that we go for an ice-cream straight from the last exam paper; and I feel my mood lift a little to see him in a better mood.
At the ice-cream parlour, I ask him if he went to the staff room to see any of his teachers, and he says no. I ask him if he went to any other classes to meet his friends, and he says no. I must admit, I feel a little lost – I mean I am happy he’s got his mojo back, but I also feel sad that he just doesn’t realise how nice it might have been.
In the afternoon, when I am at work and he watches his TV and plays on his tab, I find myself about to tell him to turn the TV off or stop playing and get back to his studies, but I realise that’s not necessary anymore! He keeps coming to my desk and keeps talking about all things that interest him; and I realise there is no reason I have to remind him to get back to his desk instead. Then, for some time, he actually leaves me alone and reads a book; and I find myself not liking the sudden silence this plunges the house into!
By evening, I am beginning to feel real bad about the lack of routine that I face from tomorrow; and I see a marked change in my mood, while my little one seems to be finally in a happy, happy mood as he excitedly calls out to me to give him dinner before his favourite TV show starts!
Later in the night, when dinner is long over and my little one lies in bed reading, I sit with my husband on the balcony and tell him about my day. It has been a roller coaster, I tell him; and truthfully, I am craving a little ice cream right now – you know, I am feeling a little sad that it was the last day of school today.