The end of the school year really is one of the best feelings in the world.
With the air conditioner and most of the lights turned off, I recall sitting with my classmates watching an educational science film made at a time when everything was covered in shag carpeting and everyone wore turtlenecks. We were one big sweaty mess, but no one cared.
The school year was moments from ending, and a sweet summer full of sleeping in and playing outside was in front of us.
It really is one of the best feelings in the world. And that's not to knock school, but when you reach the end of the year, you need a break. And it's important to have that feeling of a task completed. As a kid, I beamed with pride thinking about how I was moving on to the next grade.
My daughter, 7, said she felt it strange that not too long ago all of the older kids seemed so much older. But next year, she will be one of the older kids, but she doesn't feel all that grown up.
"Except for my teeth," she said while making a slurping noise and sticking the end of her tongue out of a hole where her two front teeth were just days before.
"How's it feel to be finishing another school year?" I asked.
"I'm tired and excited," she replied. I could see her mind racing at the thought of the summer, as if she could leap off the front steps of the school and right into a swimming pool.
This is the time of year when you feel like you can really stretch out.
When my daughter came home from school with a backpack full of a year's worth of drawings and supplies, I could feel the momentum building. When your kids are up early, dressed and ready to go before you can put on the coffee, summer must be close.
As a parent, it's amazing to see how much my children have grown during the school year. Last fall, my daughter's cat drawings were fairly basic. Now they are complex. And her use of stink lines really has taken on a mature look.
My youngest, 4, is counting and writing her name on everything. It's amazing to watch someone so little grow into an actual, functioning person. She makes her own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Sure, she gets as much on her arms as on the bread, but percentage wise, it's much less than months ago.
There are so many people who work really hard to make the educational experience special and productive. And I hope they know what they mean the community.
When my daughter first started school, I didn't grasp how many people in the community play an important role in the education of our kids. It's a lot of good, hard-working people.
As my wife, daughters and the rest of the neighborhood kids waved goodbye to the bus driver one day, I couldn't help but think, "She does a really great job with the kids, but I bet she could use a break."
Reach Dave at 330-580-8490 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @DaveManley