Today, a friend of mine—a stay-at-home-mom—lamented that summer was going much too quickly, and that the end was coming faster than she wanted. She described her days of sleeping a little later in the morning, not having to be somewhere at a given time, and the joy she feels while watching her children get to be carefree kids for a while.
I’ve been trying so hard to enjoy this summer, to make the most of the long days, to just relax a little. I keep wondering why, instead, I feel so overwhelmed—so exhausted. When this friend was describing the end of summer, I suddenly became excited for the first time in quite a while—school is coming! Just writing those words gives me a little thrill. The days of the children being gone by 8:20 are almost here—simple schedules of drop-offs and pick-ups, each day almost the same as the one before. Yes, I long for the days of routines and predictability.
You see, in my attempt to “make the most of summer” for my children, I have inadvertently over-complicated my life: swim team practice (five days a week), swim lessons (twice a week), dive lessons (once a week), taekwondo (three times a week), camp (five days a week), and gymnastics (once a week). All of this is done while still working full time, and I’ve had to travel quite a bit this summer for work. So, to squeeze all of this in, there are aspects of my life that have suffered, namely my blog and my weight (and quite possibly the cleanliness of my home—but that is for another day).
Let me start off by explaining what I mean by my weight neglect. Since last November, I have been consciously trying to lose weight—yes, I’ve been dieting. I had successfully lost about 25 pounds when I decided to start exercising sometime in the spring. And, like most things in my life, I became completely obsessed with it, barely letting a day go by without using the elliptical, going to kickboxing, or sweating in a 105 degree yoga studio. When summer started, I had very proudly lost about 35 pounds. Now, fast-forward two months, I have regained a few pounds and have probably lost all of the muscle I had started to develop—sadly, I have once again become sedentary.
I blame summer.
My lunch times—once spent pushing myself to go another mile on the elliptical—are now spent shuffling the kids from camp to swim practice. And my evenings, instead of focusing on cooking a nutritious meal, are now spent relaxing by the side of the pool reading a book until well past an acceptable time to actually cook.
My poor blog. . . I try to find time to write—I even bought a journal to write in while at the pool. The reality is, the time I once spent thinking about what to write about next, is instead consumed with thoughts of “Do the kids have gymnastics today, or is it swim lessons?” The time I used to spend actually writing has been slowly chipped away at until all that is left is an hour late at night—a time when I am too exhausted to even carry on a conversation—how on earth am I supposed to be literate!
For my daughter, I once again leave her with a small piece of advice: summers are meant to be treated differently—it is therefore okay to be lazy, to spend endless hours swimming or just hanging out with friends. Even as I write this, I am suddenly struck by my own lesson. By focusing on all of the things summer has somehow deprived me of, I stopped allowing myself the freedom to be as carefree as my children, to enjoy the simple pleasures of a late night at the pool or a long weekend at the beach.
So, for my health, for my creativity, and for my overall sanity, I dream about the first day of school.
Yet, for my children, for the joys of childhood, and for the long, lazy days of summer, I will allow myself the freedom to enjoy this last month of summer.
Answer to the question: What do you miss most about the school year?