Make It Through May

People who have children or work in education know that May rushes by with the excitement level of unmotivated children working on their last school projects of the year. Yep, it’s the end of the school year, and the long, languid days of summer sit just beyond our grasp, waiting for us to shed our sweaters and bake in the sun. However, in May we’re still half-sweatered, trying to keep our minds in the groove of school while the weather teases us with warm days interspersed between cold; thunderstorms shocking us back into the reality that spring isn’t always as sweet as we think it is.

Somehow Andrew and I both managed to get ourselves jobs that culminate in a flood of papers to grade and grades to check and transcripts to send out and graduations to plan while at the same time we parent three children who have the same types of things happening in their lives. We have quintupled the effects of May!

Spring is Still Here

Strangely enough, this May has been pretty easy compared to some of our past Mays. The first graduation I planned in my job at the college felt like I was planning a royal wedding. So much stress! I could barely keep track of all of the details. By the time those students walked across the stage, I was so exhausted and so happy for them and for myself that I felt a huge sense of accomplishment. Whew! That was done. Every graduation since then has gotten easier, and this year’s graduation felt smooth and comfortable.

The professor and the registrar at graduation this year.

Not only that, but my kids are older and manage their own lives pretty well. The two oldest both drive, so there’s no more rushing to get them to school, dropping everything at work to go and pick them up, or waiting in the parking lot for late-night practices to end. Nowadays I just wait at work for the text from Alex saying he’s there to pick me up and take me home. They have busier lives, but they keep their own calendars and keep track of their responsibilities and study for their finals without me reminding them to, and THANK GOODNESS they do all of that!

Summer’s Coming!

While it’s nice to have an easier time of it now that I know my job and my kids are older, I don’t think I’m quite at that summer time of life where I can throw my sweaters in a drawer and run into the warmth to have unlimited fun. My kids are teenagers, but they still need me. My job is more familiar, but I still have to do it. I’m not free, but I can see some freedom peeking around the corner at me.

Hannah graduates in a year and Alex the year after that. Emma won’t be too far behind them. I can see how moms might panic, feeling the approaching change of responsibility and not sure what it will mean. It might be tempting to feel like grasping some of their childhoods and pulling them back in or adding responsibilities somewhere in life, just to maintain homeostasis and avoid the stress of change.

Then I think no way! What am I thinking?! That would be like a mom whose baby starts sleeping through the night thinking, Maybe I should wake him up once in a while so my life is really hard. This sleep thing seems wrong. Nope, no one says that. I’m at the time when I can sometimes relax, read a book, write in a blog, and do some things I enjoy instead of rushing around like crazy every May. Once in a while, I see a break in the responsibility and the sun shines through to me.

In the meantime, I have a band parent meeting to attend tonight. Better make supper!

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Two Years is Too Long

Two years ago, I stopped writing.

I didn’t stop writing altogether. I just stopped blogging. I had a few reasons. The most obvious was that I started working on a master’s in counseling. Because of the amount of writing I do for class, I don’t do as much recreational writing.

About the same time, I started working part-time as an on-call chaplain at a hospital. I love it, and the amount of exciting interaction with new people has made my other, desk job more attractive.

Those two reasons aren’t really at the core of why I stopped, though. Two years ago, our country had just undergone a divisive presidential election. I had a lot of thoughts about that election, and it took so much of my mental energy to process it that I did not feel I had much to offer otherwise. I debated whether to write about politics or social issues. The world had so many bloggers pouring out their opinions that I didn’t think I should add my own, but that’s all I could think about when I sat down to write. I stopped blogging for a while to process it all.

This weekend, Rachel Held Evans passed away, though. She was an important voice for Christian women, and her loss has made it evident to me that we cannot be quiet. I don’t have to blast everyone with my opinions, but I can make a thoughtful blog post once in a while. This is my thoughtful blog post.

In the Last Two Years

In two years, a lot happened. My children grew up! Hannah got her license and recently became drum major of the high school band. She’s finishing her junior year now, took a college course or two, and she has a job. She teaches little kids to do computer coding. She’s probably smarter than me. I need to admit that now.

About two weeks ago, Alex grew up in one week’s time. One weekend he got invited to the prom, the next Monday he got a job, and that Friday he turned 16 and got his license. One very eventful week!

Emma is in seventh grade, was part of the high school novice winter guard team (think: twirling flags) and is in drama club. She plays the flute in band, and her teacher says she is “teeming with potential.” I think that’s a compliment, although in a way it sounds like something involving a swarm of mosquitoes.

I cannot believe we’re just about in the home stretch now. In a year, Hannah will graduate and leave for college. Soon after, Alex will follow. At least we’ll have three more years after that with Emma. Of the three kids she’s had the most time alone with us…she’s probably been the most bored of the three. At this very moment, while the two older ones are out galavanting around somewhere with friends, Andrew is lying on a recliner, wrapped in multiple blankets, watching a movie on his laptop with ear buds in, I am writing this, and Emma is silently playing her Nintendo Switch. She seems happy, but maybe she’s just resigned to spending her evenings with the geriatrics.

Anyway, I hope this is the beginning of blogging again. Two years has been too long!