Mathematically speaking, school has reached the June equation. Simply put: school < summer.
Even those pulling down a D-minus in math understand this is a greater not a less than sign of joy.
Children rejoice, for the school hours dwindle. The last days of school are like a Harlem Globetrotter opponent — mere formality. I'm sure a few teachers will also run screaming when the final bell rings.
Kids, it's time to clean out lockers. You don't want to leave evidence of half-eaten bananas and half-finished homework. Although some kids might add one last under-the-desk nose goblin.
Ah, summer break. No more No. 2 pencils. No more algebra books. No more teacher's dirty looks. Of course being freed from a classroom of hormonal seventh-graders would sunny one's disposition.
Our 10-year-old daughter can't wait for summer. Who can blame her. The next three months is unbridled childhood; hall passes and hot lunch trays not required.
However, summer is a season, in the words of Shakespeare, that hath all too short a date.
Most kids — my soon-to-be fifth-grader included — can't savor summer. Instead, they devour it like a dog wolfing down an open bag of kibble. They inhale the maximum amount of fun in the minimum time.
Parents are also to blame. They schedule the spontaneity right out of summer. The hither and yon shuttling of kids goes from after-school sports and activities right into summer camps and classes. Admittedly, I'm a hither-and-yon parent, too.
As a kid I'd burn through summer break. Within 20 minutes of stepping off the school bus, I pitched the Detroit Tigers to a World Series championship. I also jumped my BMX bike over Snake River Canyon and saved the world — twice.
Every summer I let my imagination run wild. I didn't pace my fun. Summer isn't a sprint; it's a light jog at most.
Summer break also meant family road trips. The car was loaded with bumper-dragging essentials. Dad also packed AAA maps and 8-tracks. He used Boots Randolph and his 'Yakety Sax' to drown out kid squawks from the backseat.
By the end of our vacation we needed a getaway from each other. Math class was preferable to staring out the car window at endless rows of Iowa corn.
Like most kids, I came to appreciate no-school bliss all too late. Suddenly it was September. I went from gluing model airplanes to modeling back-to-school clothes for my mother and the Sears sales lady.
School was back in session. It was back to pencils, books and teacher's I-can't-believe-summer's-over look.
Our daughter is subtracting the school days to summer. She understands the June equation — despite inheriting my math genes. Hopefully she paces her fun. After all, childhood and summer hath seasons all too short.