Pondering the Months to Come
The school year draws to a close in just a few weeks. The teachers from my kids’ elementary school have begun sending home notes with the last lists of things to accomplish before the year ends. I am glad, because this year has exhausted me. I’m ready for it to be over. Yet I haven’t been feeling joy when contemplating the end of the school year and today I figured out why. It is because the school year is not the end of those things that have been most difficult in the past few months. I’ve got three kids in transition and that process can not be complete until they are settled into their new schools next fall. The cessation of school is not the end, it is a pause. This thought is somewhat discouraging. I’d like to have a sense of completion, tying things off so that we can start fresh in late August. Instead I’ll just pack away many of these thoughts, store them while we manage months of summer conventions, family events, major shipping, and everyone being home all day. Then the thoughts will come back to me, unresolved, needing attention. This was my experience last year and I expect it again.
Summers were so long when I was a kid. They are far too short now. I’ve spent lots of time toggling through the months on my calendar and pondering what is to come. It doesn’t feel calm to me until sometime in November, because that is the point when we will have completed all the current things to do. Then the kids will be settled. The conventions and shipments will be done. Except November will be cold again. I don’t want to skip ahead to cold. Also, life does not calm down in November. Ever. That is when the holiday craziness kicks into gear. My life is going to be crazy for years to come. I chose this when Howard and I went full time with cartooning. I chose this when we decided to have four kids, who are now beginning to launch themselves in different directions rather than moving as a family unit. It is messy and crazy, but I’d pick this life over almost any other one that I was offered. This is an important thing to remember when it all feels impossible.
The other thing to remember is that each day offers me spaces. There are quiet moments to savor, flowers in bloom, warm outdoor air, and sunshine. Yes, the rest of May is one long task list. Yes, June is double booked every weekend and a whole week in the middle. Yes, August is week-long convention followed by week-long convention with dropping a child at college sandwiched in between. But July is almost empty. I keep skipping over it when I’m toggling my calendar, discounting the spaces there because of what comes before and after. I’m a little afraid to hope for calmness in July, as if I’d rather be surprised to find it instead of using the hope of it to get me through. Mostly though, I need to stop looking so far ahead. I can not solve June today. Instead I should focus on this week and the empty spaces between me and Storymakers conference on Friday. My life is not as crazy as my stress would sometimes have me believe.
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