816 North

Susan Vollenweider | Come WHAT?! May

“Luke just called, he needs you to pick him up.” Bekah said the moment I opened the door. Noah and his school gear were trailing behind me.

“Can I go to the bathroom?” I asked, shedding my purse.

“I don’t know, can you?”

“You wait all day for openings like that, don’t you?” I asked her as I shooed Noah toward his room to change into baseball clothes. “How long ago did he call?”

“Just a couple of minutes. Don’t forget, I have Girl Scouts tonight.”

“Have I ever forgotten?” I asked her as I dug the remains of Noah’s school day from his backpack. “Don’t answer that. Yes, I know I did that one time.”


“It was early in the year,” I told her as I pulled bread, cheese, deli meat and fruit from the fridge. “I didn’t have the routine down yet.”

Instead of heading to the bathroom, I flicked the sandwich ingredients with the speed and precision of a casino card dealer: dinner for five in less than four minutes.

A few precious personal moments later, I was back in the minivan. I had my route, Brian had his and our evening tour du activities had begun. I don’t care if you have one kid or a brood, we all have those nights that test our kid juggling skills like no other.

Dinner is eaten in shifts, or in the car; homework is done on laps and bleachers, emails returned from parking lots. The whole family works together to get people where, and when, they need to be. Getting through those nights takes teamwork, precision timing and focus.

It also takes practice. But by this time in the school year, families are trained. We have worked through the kinks in early fall, tested our systems with added events around the holidays, and gone through some stumbles during flu season. Come May we have followed the bouncing balls from football to basketball to baseball and scored every week.

(Well, most every week. We are, after all, human. Err and divine and all that.)

Like the school year that we are following, this is a time for something else: final exams. During finals everything that has been learned is put to the test to see if we are truly skilled and accomplished.

May is our final exam.

As the school year wraps up, the calendar threatens to slide off the wall from the weight of all the events. Some are cumulative — activities that the kids have been working toward: award banquets, plays and musical productions. Some are special to the month: field trips and field days. Some are life events that require the entire family’s presence: confirmations, graduation parties and weddings.

All in addition to the set activities of days and evenings that were so full that we had to steal time to visit the ladies’ room.

But we do it all, don’t we? We don’t want to miss out on any of those things. Not only the events and milestones for our own children, but the ones of families that we love; of kids that we have watched grow up around us. We buy cards by the bushel and our fingers cramp from snapping pictures. We put together outfits that can go morning to night — soccer practice to baby shower to Girl Scout award ceremony.

As this May rolls on, my goal is to keep smiling and enjoy getting bounced around in the mayhem. The years of chaos won’t last forever, the bruises will heal and all I will have left is memories.

(And mad sandwich making skills.)