By the time you read this, some of you have already enjoyed weeks of your littles being back in school.
It’s okay. It’s fine. I am not jealous of you.
It’s something I’ve learned to deal with, living in our time zone over here in the Pacific Northwest. The views are stunning, the air is crisp and clear, the rivers are wild and mysterious. But living life on some kind of delayed loop from the rest of the world really bites sometimes.
It seems that %80 of humans get to experience most of life a solid 2-3 hours ahead of us Oregonians. When it comes time for anything really important, like election coverage, the Bachelor finale, or one of the precious few new Game of Thrones episodes, I’ve learned the hard way to STAY OFF THE INTERNET. Otherwise it all gets spoiled.
Also, don’t judge me for putting the election in the same category as junk TV. This is where we are in 2016.
Adding insult to injury, everyone and their Aunt Fay also gets to be on a school schedule that is roughly an entire semester ahead of us. Every single May I see pictures of my internet friends’ kids doing cannonballs into pools with Hasthag-FirstPoolDay while I am counting down the 17 lunches I still have to pack with Hasthag-DoUncrustablesCountAsLunch?
Every single August, when we are finally finding our summer groove, everyone else is posting pictures of their littles holding tiny chalkboards with their new grade written on it, or pictures of their own feet on a charming brick path next to the one maple leaf that has managed to dislocate itself from it’s home and fall to the ground, indicating that Fall has indeed arrived.
What’s the deal with that anyways? Everyone needs to calm down already with all this “Fall in August” talk. August is not Fall! August is definitively a SUMMER month. Can we please sort this out, because it seriously messes with my head and gives me a severe case of FOMO.
Just when I think that I am truly enjoying the days at home with my littles, and patting myself on the back for ‘counting my blessings’ and ‘soaking up the moments’, I see a picture of some first grader with a backpack on and I start sweating and rethinking my whole angle.
“Do I want school to start? Sure I hate the alarm clock with an unbridled passion, and sure I loathe making one turkey sandwich and one PBJ every single morning, cursing the need to dirty three different knives before I’ve even finished my coffee…
WHAT ABOUT THE FREE TIME?”
The free time changes everything
Luckily this week I was quickly ushered over the threshold of mixed emotions and straight into anticipation, because just when I thought I needed one more month of summer, Husband went on his yearly weeklong hunting trip, leaving me to single parent for 8 days.
And just like that I was ready.
Over the years I’ve learned that I’m a great single parent (really stellar) for about three days. Then we have a slight dip in our overall outlook on life somewhere around Day 4, when I inevitably threaten to throw away every single toy left on the ground and maybe even the TV (which we all know is an empty threat because why would I ever throw away the TV? I’m not the one in trouble.)
So for the last 8 days Husband has been sending me beautiful pictures like this,
of wild horses and other majestic creatures- while I send him pictures of the children nearly killing me to death with their whining.
I mostly appreciated the visuals of the gorgeous eastern Oregon countryside until he sent me this photo of the hot spring he was currently enjoying on the same morning that our two dogs killed an opossum and LEFT IT ON OUR PORCH FOR ME.
While he was winding down his week of solitude in the wilderness with a fancy, warm, outdoor bath, I was corralling children and trying to think of ways to successfully remove the rigor mortis stiffened body of a dead rodent without actually touching it.
And just like that I actually heard myself surrender to this week. It was a small, clean sound- like the snapping of a flower stem.
So on Tuesday morning when school starts I will rise early and call myself blessed. I will joyfully make the sandwiches. I will become a soccer mom again. I will even volunteer in the classrooms. That’s two classrooms! Because it will mean that once again I will have 6 magical hours a day TO MYSELF (minus the classroom volunteering, but whatever man, I’ll take it).
I will dress my dear offspring in their crisp new clothes, I will hand them their lunch pails, and I will kiss their cherub cheeks in the middle of their new classroom (which will only embarrass them a little), and then I will drive home with the windows down and Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Fight The Feeling” turned up a little louder than necessary at 8 am on a weekday morning.
I will come home to a quiet, empty house.
I will leisurely, intentionally sip coffee on my back porch while deciding if I want to write or read or visit with a friend. I probably (definitely) won’t want to work out but I’ll do it anyway. I’ll probably (definitely) waste a few precious hours neurotically cleaning my house, because I’ll have forgotten how to really relax alone after a summer full of child-rearing. (By the way, we really need to change that verbiage, amiright?)
Then at 2:15 I’ll file into the carpool lane and by the time my kids climb into the car, I’ll realize with an explosion of love, that for the first time in three months I’ll have missed my kids. Because summer is long, but I’m still human and I do have a soul.
Next week I’ll be writing you sad, weepy letters about how time is passing too quickly and I want to bottle these days up.
When I that happens, do me a favor, will you? Remind me about this week? It’ll help me cope with all the growing up.