Friday, June 17, 2011

End of school = parties & gifts & stress!

If you have kids in school, in sports or just generally involved, you've probably noticed an increase in your calendar entries the past few weeks.  Given that three of our kids are only two, we know the years ahead will only get more hectic; even so, the past few weeks have really given us a run for our money.

Every activity seems to have its own prerequisite end-of-year celebration... ballet class, baseball, soccer, and lacrosse.  Then there was the pre-school party and the first grade picnic.  As if it's not hard enough to simply juggle my job, my life, my kids and these social events, each one also requires just the right gift for the "teacher" which I put in quotes only because I'm not sure if or why the Dads who coach baseball are on the gift list.  Actually, to be frank, they weren't on mine and I felt like a bit putz when I showed up empty-handed!  People also buy gifts for the bus driver, bus monitor and I recently heard someone planning to include the school nurse and librarian in their annual end of school gift blitz.

This is all really stressing me out.  It's kind of hard to be at a meeting for work at 11 and the class picnic at noon.  And it's really hard to find the time to find all those gifts!  Not to mention, our budget for June is now completely shot.  Our credit card company must be thrilled but I, for one, am not!

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for celebrating and all for recognizing a job well done.  In fact, I really do like a party as much as the next gal.  I just think it's all gotten a bit out of control.  I've decided to follow the good advice of a girlfriend and just stock up on Dunkin' Donuts gift cards... can't go wrong there, right?  I mean, "America runs on Dunkin'!" ... or, at least I do more often than not!

I think little things really can mean a lot and while I envy the moms who have the time to make crafty, personal gifts, I will never be one of them.  I can write a pretty good, from the heart card filled with gratitude with a little gift card to boot.  And, I do try to attend all of the festivities but, I realized as I arrived at the first class picnic an hour late and huffing and puffing, I really wasn't missed.  My little man was having the time of his life with his pals and I'm not sure that my presence really added to the quality of his day.  Which led me to this conclusion:  just as we must pick our battles in life, we must also pick our parties.  We may not be able to attend them all, but if you make it to the ones that count, well, that may be the best gift of all.

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