Like a blast of arctic air, the end of summer has smacked us in the face – leaving us stunned, feeling like the Bullet Train has literally hit and run. (Can someone get the license plate on that thing?!) Good-bye lazy, hazy days of summer. Hello crazy, tiger-by-the-tail days of I-don’t-know-what-to-call-you.
Those arctic blasts have looked a little something like this from last week (since summer for 3 of our 5 ended last week – of course school can’t start for all of them at the same time, that would be too easy):
Endless Searching (and by endless, I actually mean endless).
“Where are my shoes?” asks child, 10 minutes before needing to be at cross-country practice.
“Yeah – where are they. I’m going to be late. And I can’t wear the ones from last year. They don’t fit!”
Me: “We just bought shoes!” Frantic search begins. “Where in the world did you put them?! … Why didn’t you get them out last night? If you get your stuff together the night before, crazy can be avoided when morning comes!”
Curse you cra-cra!
- The shoes were found – eventually. As were siblings’ shoes that went AWOL See? … lost things are found – good to remember in the midst of mad-moments.
- The closets got a nice cleaning/organizing – even though the cleaning began with a mad frenzy of throwing every item out in order to find shoes.
- Actually the entire house got a nice cleaning/organizing because shoes were only the tip of the lost-item iceberg in our endless-searching week (Other lost items included: a summer-reading assignment that somehow found its way to the bottom of a paper-stack in a brother’s room, keys, belts, keys, phones, keys, immunization records, keys …)
- We made new friends during our Week O’ Searching.
When the key to a loaner car (an impaired driver crashed into us resulting in 2 weeks of a super-swank ride while ours is being repaired) decided to hide, Triple-A came to the rescue. You see, my bag – another item for which we mad-searched – had hidden itself under the passenger seat of the car. When the car’s key was no-where to be found, the repair place concluded that it was in the car that had somehow locked itself (swanky cars can do that.) Needless to say, after Triple-A guy John, broke into the car and we, along with all of our neighbors, suffered through blasts of the alarm announcing intruders, we realized that the key was not in my bag. Alarm blasting, a new intensity settled onto our frantic search. Even John combed through every blade of grass in our front yard looking for the key while the rest of us looked through EVERY nook and cranny inside – AGAIN. (Thankfully, with all the cleaning and organizing, it was easy to search.) Finally, the key was found – under the passenger seat of our other car. (Why??!! – I don’t know. At least we found it!)
Not lost – just momentarily forgotten
School number appears on caller i.d. (Uh-huh – it’s back!) “Hello??” I answer the call, afraid of whatever message is coming my way from the other end.
I glance at the clock. Yikes! School is out!
“Mom? … Did you forget to pick me up?”
“Oh my goodness, Honey. I’ll be right there!”
If only it happened only once this very, short week. No. Of the three days at school, the poor child made that phone call three times. Running crazy with a couple of the other arctic blasts – I forgot school was even in session (eek!)
Curse you cra-cra!
- Flexibility and character actually flourish in these moments
- The kid knows I love him and he never complained. He just laughed and told me he loves me … and begged that I don’t do it again.
- Sister-friends come to the rescue. Because – we are all in this together. Thank you Brenda for grabbing him. And for answering the phone 15 minutes after carpool was over with a frantic “I’m almost there!!” because you were running crazy, too.
Multiple visits to the same place
Office Supply – 5 times last week, more to come this week – yippeee.
Grocery store – 3 times in 30 minutes. One trip was to go back and get my wallet that I had left at the check-out. If my head wasn’t attached, it would be lost by this point.
Uniform store – twice. On one of those trips I actually returned items from last year that we found while forced-cleaning/organizing.
Doctor’s office – don’t want to count! Forms, forms and more forms. Why? And why can’t all the schools have the same forms? And why do I misplace them?! Am I a glutton for searching punishmentt?!
Curse you cra-cra and all your too-much-on-my-mind-to-keep-it-all-straight frenzy!
- Plain and simple gratitude. Truly grateful for all that we have and all of the opportunities that come with big families and back-to-school.
“Did you wear your glasses today?” I ask our youngest as he gets in the car from school. They had been forgotten the day before. Glasses just haven’t been on our radar. It’s easy to get away without them in the summer – but not in a classroom.
“But I put them in your bag,” I protest.
“I couldn’t wear those,” he lamented. “They’re glasses that you would wear. That would be so embarrassing.”
I wasn’t sure what he was talking about until we got home and dug through his backpack to open the case. Sure enough, they weren’t his glasses. I had grabbed a pair off my nightstand, thinking they were his. But they were actually a sister’s very old pair that were found in our mass cleaning. They’re so cute, I’m for sure saving them.
“Oh, honey – you’re right. Those are girl glasses.” Juicy Couture – definitely not boy! “I’m so sorry.”
Followed by countless other apologies:
“I’m sorry he’s been asking your daughter what’s on the board’
“I’m sorry I forgot you – I really won’t do it again.” Next day: “I’m so sorry I did it again!”
“I’m so sorry I missed the interview!” yikes – this fun email:
Thanks so much for hanging with me Carrie and somehow making it work!
“I’m sorry I didn’t get Jack to the party.” So sorry to the host for the rudeness of such action, but also sorry to Jack for having to miss, and sorry to our kids involved in the very pressing matters that claimed that time.
“I’m sorry I’m crying – I don’t mean to be.”
“I’m sorry you’re caught in the wake of our crazy.”
Very real alternate perspective – and the best part of cra-cra arctic blasts – leaning into:
- Kindness of strangers (Did I really let the tears – a culmination of so many stresses from the week – trickle out of my eyes in front of my adult son and a sweet, unaware UTD advisor? Yes I did – and she met me there. And so did he. Oh my word!! Who would have known? I’m so thankful for those tears.)
- Friendship (“We missed you”, “I understand”, “How can I help?”, “I’m there for you – ANY TIME”)
- Together – when we live authentically and honestly, steering clear of blame or shame, the crazy draws our family and friends even closer – as if that could be possible.
I could actually share more – but rather than continue, here’s the deal (b/c I know the crazy is just beginning for some) – staying sane in the midst of crazy centers on perspective. And with adjusted perspective, gratitude pumps oxygen into the air. And with a little extra oxygen we can breathe – and laugh – and encourage those around us who are living the same thing.
This is my friend Catherine’s phone. She used the find-my-phone app to discover it at the end of her block, happily resting in the soft grass where it landed after flying off the roof of her car where she had put it – while racing back into her house to frantically grab a forgotten-something because they were late – and forgotten it. Yes – we’re all in it together :)
Thanks for walking this crazy road with me.