Making It through May(hem)
OMG. Did we make it? Do I still have eyebrows? Or did I run them completely off when I was pretty sure my hair was on fire for most of the month? Is May REALLY over?
When you have kids, the entire month can be summed up in one word: MAYHEM.
At this point in the year, I have almost completely thrown in the towel. When is the last time the children bathed? Who even knows anymore. (And I don’t dare to even think about the state of their toenails.) I can no longer find my kitchen countertops, thanks to the mountains of papers being unloaded from backpacks every afternoon, and I constantly have the feeling that I'm forgetting something critically important (probably in said pile of papers). I know I missed at least one elementary school orchestra informational meeting, and I'm losing the will to patrol my youngest who keeps sneaking down to our basement to watch Mark Rober's YouTube engineering videos on our TV when he thinks I'm not paying attention. (I mean, it could be worse, right?)
I thank Jen Hatmaker (only in my mind though, because I might actually expire if I ever met her) every single year when I reread her fantastic post, “Worst End of School Year Mom Ever.” It’s ten years old this year and every word still rings just as true as when I read it originally.
Y'all, I would say, “We’ve got this!” But honestly, I don’t know anymore. Do we have it? Do I have it? What is it? What is even happening anymore?
And I swear to all things good and holy, if one more person asks me, “What’s for dinner?” I’m going to lose my ever-loving mind. Here’s the answer: I DON’T KNOW. I’ve been in headless chicken mode likely since I woke up and have had exactly the same opportunity to plan dinner as anyone else — which is none. We’re down to canned sardines that my husband bought on a whim five years ago and a single box of mac and cheese at the back of the pantry. Oh, and maybe some olives. So, I guess it's pizza (again)?
If March “comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb,” May drops you into a marathon at mile number three and expects you to sprint for the duration. With no training. By the time you get to the finish line, you’re exhausted, have zero patience with everyone and everything, and are possibly hallucinating.
I do realize that this is only a season in my life while my kids are little(ish) and that I will possibly someday miss these days, but today is not that day. Today, I am praying for rain so that a baseball or soccer game gets canceled and gives us all a minute to breathe. (Why, oh why, are there two sports in season at the same time?!) And maybe that makes me a terrible parent for not wanting to attend five sporting events in a single Saturday, but I'm seriously overloaded.
For every weekend this month, between baseball, soccer, dance, music, and end-of-year celebrations, we had roughly twenty different activities in the course of the weekend — every weekend. I love that I get to watch my kids do what they love and I try to be present for them, but the end result is that I feel like I'm being stretched so thinly that I'll snap. My house is littered with tutus, shin guards, half-finished water bottles — and I keep finding random fake eyelashes in weird places. There's a saying that a cluttered house is reflective of a cluttered mind. Well, I have lots of thoughts on that. But I can't sort them out. Because everything is cluttered in May. If anyone came to rob my house right now, they’d probably walk in and say, “We’re too late. They’ve already been hit.” It is total and complete chaos. This is where we are.
But still, we managed to remember which kids needed to wear which colors for Field Day at school (even if we forgot the sunblock). The homework got done (including the last-minute class presentation project that required a frantic trip to Walgreens for poster board), and the library books got turned in (except for one, which has disappeared into a middle school black hole, that we (read: my son) will have to replace). The dog even made it to the groomers. We celebrated some favorite teachers' retirements, swooned over lovingly handmade Mother's Day cards, and screamed our heads off for the doubles that stretched to triples. We still bandaged scraped knees from these first early days of summer, proudly videotaped piano recitals for out-of-town grandparents, and wrapped our babies in hugs that told them that they'd be okay when this time of year got to be too much for them too.
So, now, careening into the last two days of school on two wheels, I can see the finish line in sight. After the middle school graduation, and the four dance recitals, and the baseball tournament, and the back-to-back-to-back soccer games, and before the summer camps (or summer school and ballet summer intensives, in our case) start, there are a few mornings when we can sleep in, when we can feel a little less like being shot out of a cannon to start the day. June, you're on the horizon, and you hold all the promise of a lazy summer day. I'm coming for you.
And y'all, we've got this.