It happens every year. My jaw clenches, my stomach knots and my heart races as I ask myself the same annual question, “How are we going to do all those things that fill the May calendar?”
The answer is, “practice.”
The entirety of the school year has been a practice run for May. The May family calendar is full to the brim with spring and summer sports, Mother’s Day, the above-average number of birthday celebrations, final choir, band, dance and drama performances, graduation parties, bridal and baby showers, weddings…phew!
It’s easy to see why there is a long weekend at the end. We need to stop and catch our breath!
But come on, Parents! We’ve been practicing for May all school year! It’s time to show our kids (and ourselves) that we’ve really got this even if “got” means hangin’ on by our fingernails.
The fall was a mere warm-up. It was busy with full school days, activities and fall sports, but we all managed the schedule and getting through it gave a boost to our parental juggling confidence.
The freshness of the new school year gave us newbie energy and enthusiasm to recover if we made any scheduling errors, like having Jaxon sitting at Kylie’s ballet practice in his soccer pads only to get a text from your bleacher buddy asking why you aren’t at the game. It’s cool. We all make those mistakes, carry on…
…to Christmas. If life is a class, winter break is the mid-term for Advanced Family Plate Spinning. Remember December?
Winter sports gearing up, classroom parties, church activities, work celebrations and do you even remember how many Christmases you had? There was Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, in-law Christmas, and the out-of-state hybrid- Happy New Thanksmas. By the time the kids went back after winter break you were all egg-nogged out and still having the nightmare where you’re chased by a roll of wrapping paper.
But you made it! You finally took down the evergreen wreath on your front door, because you did, right? You cruised through spring break, Easter and as the last few months flew by, the schedule got busier and more frenetic each week.
The transition to spring sports practice and competitions was a little rough, you had to deal with the cold weather and you wrote the wrong time down for a ballgame. So what? Maybe you dropped a couple plates and missed something, but we ALL miss something at some point. Forgive yourself and face the month of May that is here, now.
By May your family is a well-practiced unit that’s either charging into this last month of school with gusto or dragging each other through to the end.
But here’s the thing: Each day on your calendar is separate for a reason: so we can take them one at a time. I don’t want to be the jerk that reminds you, as if you needed one more thing to do, to enjoy it because it will end soon. You’re smart, you know that.
You know that the days of them as tiny, helpless but sweet-smelling infants went by quickly.
You know how fast they go from a crawl to a sprint; that the years of seeing all those firsts goes by fast.
You know the speed that they outgrow the family heirloom sweaters, the successions of car seats and beds, the new prettiest dresses or cutest team jerseys EVER.
You know this time will end and you’re already doing your best to capture the fun and frantic, the momentous and the ordinary, the excitement and the disappointment, the mess and the dazzling perfection that is family life with kids.
Godspeed, dear families, May only happens once a year.
Susan Vollenweider lives in the Northland. To listen to the women’s history podcasts that she co-hosts or to read more of her writing visit thehistorychicks.com or susanvollenweider.com.