Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Popsicle Drips on Calendar Squares

When my girls were little, summer seemed longer.

There were actually a few times when I longed for summer to end.  Those were the days when having three girls at home for two months wore me down.  A five year old, a two year old and an infant, or a six year old, a three year old and a toddler are combinations that are not for the faint of heart.  Many of you have been there.  Some of you are there now.  In those days I longed for Hannah to return to school and for Ellie to begin or return to preschool so that my routine could begin again and that I would have a few quiet afternoons filled with nap time and fewer bodies and minds to entertain.

It's not like that now.  Now, I wish summer could last forever.

Our days begin with sleeping in or dozing in our beds reading long after the school bell normally rings. We read the paper or the comics, eat brunch, go to the library, ride our bikes, hang out with friends and maybe even swim.  We watch a little T.V. (OK, sometimes a lot of t.v.), lick Popsicles and eat crazy amounts of corn on the cob for supper.  We hang with the neighbors, stay up way too late, wash our dirty feet in the tub and crawl into bed.

I love the lack of rigidity, the free-flowing rhythm to the days that dictates we're never in a hurry.  We aren't bound to someone else's schedule and no one is counting on us.  It sounds selfish and self-preserving to say it like this, but it's all about us.  And that feels good.

As we've been inching closer to September and emails and phone calls and letter trickle in about the fall, the pristine blank squares on my calendar in the kitchen begin their transformation.  Soon they are full of times and stars and reminders and commitments.  Lessons, meetings, classes and field trips.  Promises, follow-through and "we'll be there".  And that makes me nervous.

Just looking at those squares fill up while silently orchestrating  how to make all the pieces come together to get us all where we need to be makes me want to move to secluded island with nothing but books, baguettes and goat cheese.  In a nutshell, I don't do well under time-pressure.  It makes me short-tempered, edgy and harsh.  I turn from a soft-hearted mom who can laugh and chat to a Drill Sergeant who can move her troops with military precision.  We might show up on time, but don't be surprised if one or more of us is crying or gritting their teeth.

I've known this about myself for years.  That doesn't make the feelings go away.  Life with growing girls says that you can't press "pause" and you can't check-out.  You keep moving.  You might yell and scream, but you try to remember to say you're sorry.  There are places to go and people to see.  The pace is relentless and it doesn't show your best side.

Not like now.  I like this side of me.
The side that says, "Sure, read one more chapter.  We're not in a hurry."
The side that changes plans and commitments according to mood or disposition or whether the bike trail is calling us.

That's who I want to be.

But those calendar squares are filling up.
They wait for no one.

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