The end of the school year is always a busy one for parents, but this one was more poignant than most.
Oliver finished up his junior year, and I realize that the next time he’s in school he’ll be preparing for his departure, and the days will be a flurry of applications and deadlines.
And this week Charlotte graduated from her K-8, meaning her elementary and middle school years are officially over.
She’s now off to St. Mary’s in the fall, a wonderful private girls’ school downtown.
What this means for me is that after a dozen years, I’ll no longer be walking my kids to school.
And my family no longer has a neighborhood school.
Anyone who’s parented will know the amount of hours you spend at a school.
Volunteering. Cooking all those Appreciation Lunches, Brunches and Cocktail Parties.
Dropping in and dropping off. Attending concerts and plays and teacher conferences and special celebrations.
Lunches in the classroom.
Consequently, Charlotte and Oliver’s school has felt like an extension of our home with a cast of characters that has changed very little over the last dozen years. All those hard-working teachers. The same secretaries. Gym teacher. Librarian. Custodian.
My kids weren’t the only ones that graduated from that school — in a way, I did, too.
It felt like the time to show love all throughout the building — one last time.
In trying to figure out what to make, I thought about some of the more recent offerings dropped off at school.
I’ve made a lot of granola these last few months
so I knew that wasn’t going to be it.
Also, there’ve been a lot of cookie deliveries, too.
Soups too have been well-represented
so I decided to go old school.
Because truly, is there a better friend sitting on your desk than a jar of garlicky, crunchy, salty snack mix?
Think of all those menial end of year chores and papers to grade and you’ll see the genius of a snack mix at the ready.
I’d forgotten that I’d started a collection of jars for teacher’s gifts mid-winter, and sure enough in the back of my pantry I saw I had 17 containers ready to go, a mixture of vintage and newer jars and metal boxes.
Every time I make this throw-back snack the ingredients vary somewhat; I always buy all three Chex cereals (wheat, rice and corn) and then it’s a mix of possible other sidekicks: potato chips, pretzels, corn chips, crackers (Triscuits or rice crackers are particularly good here), buttered popcorn and/or other chips (this time I added quinoa chips).
What stays the same is what it’s all tossed with– an intensely flavored melted butter blend with spikes of Worcheshire sauce. Remember, the more kicky the flavoring, the better the final mix. My butter blend had fresh garlic, chives, smoked paprika, cumin, onion powder, and Sriracha. It’s tossed liberally with the ingredients and then it crisps up for about a half hour and when it comes hot out of the oven I sprinkle it all liberally with salt and this blend from Trader Joe’s (a current obsession).
I then let it cool and then put it in jars.
I delivered all these containers at my kid’s two schools, and I’m pretty sure that for some people (like the janitor and the librarian), it was one of the few– if only– treat they received.
After dropping all this off, I felt a little depleted. Blue.
It’s been that kind of week.
Kate Spade. Anthony Bourdain. So much pain out there and you never know what people are grappling with.
I did the only thing I know to do when at a loss.
I went back into the kitchen.
And baked up some end-of-school treats for my kids and friends.
Smitten Kitchen Buttermilk Biscuits (mine employ sharp Cheddar to deliver maximum yum)
There’s something about warm biscuits that’s just so… comforting.
So as my kids were reunited here one last time at our school,
I said arrivederci, Beverly Cleary, and thanks for so many happy memories.
I can’t wait to see what’s next.