Any parent who has ever emptied their child's backpack after the last day of school knows exactly what I am talking about here. It's a good thing kids have so much excited energy as they burst forth from the school doors after the last bell of the year and run shrieking with glee through the yard towards home -- that adrenaline rush is the only thing that makes it physcially possible for them to even lift their grossly overstuffed bags. The sheer volume of papers, crafts, trinkets, and other miscellaneous items that a relatively small person can accumulate in ten months of learning is nothing short of astonishing.
When I unzippered those backpacks, I unleashed a furious vortex of stuff that seemed to come whirling out of the bags with a life of its own: Duotangs. Assorted crumpled papers. New books given as year end gifts from teachers. Ripped wrapping paper shreds (likely from the opening of said gifts). Rulers. Pencil cases full of broken pencils and half dried-up markers. Fifty thousand crafts. Notebooks (which was to be expected, but somehow we ended up with math notebooks that belong to other children). Little bits of erasers. Running shoes that look like they'd been chewed by wild dogs. Scraps of paper with phone numbers and addresses on them. A recorder from music class. Half-eaten lunches. (Wait, those come home from school every day. Never mind.) Water bottles. Collector cards. A pipe cleaner. The random parts of a board game brought to school that morning (scattered everywhere), and the empty box for said board game. And finally, this little gem, found in the bottom of Will's backpack:
A wad of used masking tape (with some sticky tack thrown in for good measure), probably discarded as bulletin boards were being taken down in the classroom. Please do not ask me why he would bring such a thing home. I cannot (and do not want to) even imagine what he thought it might be useful for.
It was a scary, scary thing, going through those backpacks yesterday. But there is now a tidy pile of papers and books on each of the boys' desks for them to sort through, and we have all summer long to deal with those. Time to store away the cheerful memories of a wonderful school year and enjoy a well-deserved break! Happy summer!