“After running this school-injected marathon for 10 months, families are expected to sprint the last handful of weeks and then toward the very end, we’re handed two 50-lb backpacks,” I say to a friend last week, “I’m officially at the end of my endurance and still have two weeks to go.”
The events, activities and stresses pile up to a crescendo that’s unsustainable.
We should be happy our children are active and welcome the transitions for growth and celebrations of successes.
But truthfully, the dance recitals, school concerts, and award ceremonies are another event thread to enter into the calendar.
I remember missing important elements.
“I’ll pick you up at 7:00 tonight. Wait, am I expected to be at the rehearsal?” I ask Katy as I drop her off for her first dance rehearsal a handful of weeks ago.
“Either way,” Katy says as she scrambles out of the car.
I watch her go and realize, ‘Crap, it’s only 4:00 and I haven’t given her a snack, money for a vending machine or even a bottle of water.’
Way to go, Mom.
I park the car and get out to support Katy in her new role as dancer. At least, I can be there to get her a snack or water if necessary.
It’s only 3 hours.
Of course, I have this kind of time.
I get home and tell my husband, Greg, of my absentmindedness.
Nick, her older brother, overhears and laughs.
“Yeah, you dropped me off for my AP exam this morning and I reached in my bag for a snack and realized I didn’t have one.”
I blanch and vaguely recall seeing a note about the AP exam schedule and yes, there’s a note about a snack and water.
That’s two Mother-of-Year moments in one day.
The next day as we’re walking into Katy’s dance recital and I see a number of other moms with beautiful bouquets of flowers. I look at Greg and ask if we have time to run out of line and buy some flowers.
Nope. No time at all.
But, he spies a woman selling single red roses and steps out of line to buy one for Katy.
Dad saves the day.
Thank you, Greg!
It turns out I do this two more times. Once at Katy’s National Junior Honor Society ceremony and the other at her final middle school chorus concert.
Apparently, this is not a learning opportunity for me.
“Nick, you have to get ready. Your ceremony is tonight,” I yell up the stairs a few minutes before we’re to leave for his induction into the World Languages National Honor Society.
Wait a minute. He’s supposed to wear a blazer and I reflect on what’s hanging in his closet. Actually, there is no reflection as I have no idea what’s in his closet.
“Do you have a blazer that fits?” I scream, feeling a moment of panic.
He’s still growing. I buy new blazers a few times a year and realize the last purchase was probably around the holidays. There’s no way anything is going to fit.
I run up the stairs and knock on Nick’s door.
He opens the door and steps out.
He looks great.
He shoots the cuffs of his shirt and says, “Dad and I took care of it last night. This is his blazer and it fits perfectly.”
He straightens his tie.
He really looks sharp.
Thankfully one parent is on top of things.
“Why are parents here?” I ask Nick the other week as I’m dropping him off for school.
I look over at him and notice he’s looking a bit dapper this morning.
“It’s the sophomore award ceremony this morning,” he replies.
“Bleep (yes, I need to bleep my response),” I look down. I’m not presentable at all. I’m basically wearing pajamas and there’s no way I can pretend otherwise.
“Am I supposed to be there?” I ask Nick.
“No. It’s no big deal,” he responds.
He is so understated. He doesn’t like anyone even knowing about any of his successes. (Hence, people on Facebook probably think I have only one child.)
“Seriously Nick. What is this about?”
“Mom, the sophomores are getting recognized this morning. I’m just getting recognized for the medaling in the National Latin exam. I do this every year. It’s really no big deal.”
It’s true actually. He does medal every year.
In fact, I only know of his medals because his teacher told me in 7th and 8th grade. Last year, I saw a medal on his bureau.
He never says a word.
“Mom, they would have sent you a personal email if it was a big deal. Really, it’s not – at all.” Nick announces as he climbs out of the car.
He’s right, but I can’t help feeling terrible.
This is not like me.
I’m usually on tops of things.
I think about the last handful of weeks as I drive home.
I think about the weeks with events every single night.
I think of the early morning drop offs and the off-schedule pick-ups after school.
I think of the calendar juggling and drive maneuvers I have to orchestrate to get everyone where they have to be when they need to be there.
This pace has got to stop.
The daily and weekly requirements are ridiculous.
The calendar looks like a crazy-person’s doodles.
We only have two children.
I cannot imagine families with more children and more activities.
However this year, we have the added requirement of entering a new school. Katy is going to high school next year. So, we have new school transition events with tryouts, paperwork and information sessions.
I’m sick and tired of the hectic pace.
I want everything to slow down.
I want to be able to enjoy each moment as it happens and not have to anticipate the next event and additional requirements as I sit in an auditorium.
I yearn for summer.
I long for the ability to wake up later than 6:00 a.m.
I desire the lack of obligations and deadlines.
I wish for hours and hours when I can sink deeply into whatever is in front of me and not have to organize every activity based on a drop-off or pick-up.
I SO yearn for summer.
Yes, I’m grateful for my children’s active lifestyles.
Yet, I’m so thankful I can see summer in my sights.
Summer. I can almost taste you.
You are almost here.
I can just about reach out and grab you.
I cannot wait.
Already I’m feeling relief just thinking about you.
As always, wishing you joy,