This is the time of the school year where I’ve sort of given up. 

My younger kid started the school year with two blue polos and two white ones, five water bottles with cute name labels, a lunch bag that matched her backpack, and a nice clean dedicated homework area. 

Now, in May, she has one blue polo and one white one that is badly stained with … something? Ink, maybe, or chocolate? I don’t know where the other shirts went. She lost one during cheerleading season when she came home in her cheer uniform, and the other one truly could be just about anywhere. We’ve replaced so many water bottles at this point that I’ve run out of name labels and am just inking her initials on them with Sharpie and hoping for the best. The lunch bag sat full of food over winter break and had to be tossed, so now she’s using a hand-me-down from her older sister circa 2014. The homework area is full of papers and leftover Easter candy and, for reasons unclear, an empty plastic container that once held sliced peaches but now is full of dirt. 

The older kid started high school with two PE uniforms; a bunch of new shoes and clothes; carefully labeled and color-coded folders and binders; a new insulated lunch box; and a ton of markers, pens, pencils, and highlighters.

Now, in May, she has lent both PE uniforms to friends and is perpetuating the cycle by borrowing other uniforms from other friends on days when she has PE. The clothes and shoes are still around, but they are carpeting her bedroom floor and she can never seem to locate two matching shoes in the morning. She hasn’t brought her lunch from home in months and mostly seems to subsist on frozen Uncrustables and/or honey buns that she buys at the school bookstore. And while her backpack is still full of folders and school supplies, it seems that every piece of paper she actually needs – geometry homework, AP Human Geography study guides, French quizzes she needs signed – is wadded up in a massive ball at the bottom of her backpack. 

As for me, the huge box of assorted flavored coffee K-cups I bought back in January is now down to the very dregs, with flavors including Blueberry Cobbler, Cherry Cheesecake, and the anxiety-inducing “Mystery Flavor,” so clearly I am ready to be done with this year, too. After 20 years of real life in an office setting, I don’t necessarily look at summer as a finish line, but as someone who works at a school, I’m still counting down the days. 

Come early August, I’ll be all excited again, ready to buy water bottles and colored pencils and pack nutritious lunches.

But for now, I’m just putting one kid in the stained white polo, digging through a mountain of clothes to throw a matching shoe to my older kid before we sprint for the minivan at 7:30 a.m., and trying my best to just make it to the end of the month. 

Come on, summer!