I’ve read the posts. I’ve heard the quips. I’ve lived the quips. Like every other parent in the summer, I’ve lived through the heat, multiple iterations of “I’m bored”, teen sleep (as in: I’m fairly certain one of mine never once ate breakfast this summer since he got up past lunch every day), mid-week sleep overs, hot cars – super hot cars, mundane, mundane and mundane.
And, even though I know I should be happy that school is literally around the corner and that my kids will be somewhere besides under my feet, I’m not. I for one, am sad. In fact, I’ve already started searching for May.
I live for summer. I sink into freedom from schedule. Granted, it might have something to do with my calendar challenges and flakiness, I know. But, empty spaces rock my world. As I sit today, watching every blank space on my barely existent calendar fill (literally “watching” because one or my techno-savy kids is compiling all the school calendars on my phone for me), I fight back the tears.
Then there’s the car. My love/hate relationships with that car. School begins next week; but I’ve already started shuttling. Sports have already started. And then the forms. I’ve been filling out forms, multiple iterations of the same form. I’ve been to the doctor three times. The first for immunization records. Then back for UIL sports forms. Then back again for immunization record I didn’t realize I needed the first time I went.
“Oh hi, Mrs Wyma,” say the Pediatricians staff, while they look at each other with a her-again? glance. They know us well. Our file fills one of their cubbies. In fact, our family alone makes the case for electronic everything. Forget the gym. Whoever hoists our information has met their weight lifting regime for the day.
“Yes… I’m back … again.” I offer with a silly grin. Then I ask/plead, “Listen – do you know of any other forms I need. I don’t think I can drive over here again. I love you guys. But, seriously. I need help.”
I hear the printer from behind some cabinets. The next thing I know, a sweet nurse is handing me a stack. “I think this will do it.” And, it did. Angels sang as I walked out the door. I added those forms to my stack of other forms. The stack that was sitting on my kitchen counter. The stack that should have been in my car when I drove over to one of our FOUR (Did I say four? Yes, four!) schools to turn in the forms. The stack that I will be taking back to the school this morning. Using at least thirty of the precious remaining minutes of our fleeting summer.
I burn more minutes by putting together a spreadsheet and try to wrap my head around how in the world I will get my crew to and from where they need to be, when they need to be there all at the same time. Should be interesting. And that doesn’t begin to touch sports. Which means more car time. Have I expressed my disdain for the car?
Even for families who have chosen to lighten up on schedule overload, the schools themselves require a good portion of it. Apparently, everyone has bought into the idea that more is better. More stuff. More information. More activities. And all the “more” makes time fly even faster.
This is why I love summer. Summer is slow. Summer is free. Summer isn’t victim to the crazed pace society calls normal. Summer is imagination. Summer is bored. Then bored is a fort with all the pillows from my bed. Bored is Robert Lewis Stevenson imagining his stairway to be an ocean upon which a pretend ship sails. Summer is fishing. Hours of sitting, waiting, talking … about nothing. Good things can come from cloud watching nothing. I bet Einstein had lots of hours of nothing. Hours to think about space and it’s relation to matter. I bet Monet thought long and hard about those Water Lilies – hours upon hours of staring at his garden, drawing, painting, and painting again. I wonder if Mozart sat doing nothing. Did those notes that came together to form some of our favorite masterpieces float through his head in moments of boredom? I don’t know. But sometimes less is more.
But beyond relishing hour upon hour of summer nothing, I can’t think of any place I’d rather be than sitting on the couch (or anywhere for that matter), as I am right now, next to my kids. These kids, even in their worst moments, are my favorite people in the world. I laugh at the question one just asked, “Mom? Can I have chocolate ice cream?” It’s 9 am. Where he quickly adds “… after lunch?” I like feeling him next to me – even though the smell of his breath could curl my hair. And I will miss him when he’s in school. It feels like a part of me is missing when they’re gone. I know school comes with the territory. And I appreciate all the great things school brings into their lives. It’s part of growing up, learning, spending time with friends, adjusting – but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
Driving through Chic-Fil-A to grab an iced tea yesterday, my 15-year-old riding shotgun, I rolled down my window and prepared to embarrass that daughter. “I was you just a few short years ago,” I told the mom corralling her 4 stair-stepped kids so they could cross over the drive-through line to get to their car.
She smiled while wrestling a toddler. Her oldest looked to be about 9. “Oh … Do you have four?”
“We’ve got five, but it seems like yesterday that I was doing the same thing you’re doing right now. Your kids are soooo cute…. It goes so fast.”
“I know,” she said. “I’m eeking out every minute.”
I guess it’s okay to be both excited and sad about the start of school.
Goodbye Summer. Thanks for slowing everything down. I will do my best to remember you throughout the year. We will miss you … more than you know. In your absence might our heart grow fonder.
Thanks for walking the road with me.