the thick of it

The family preparing for a show at Preservation Hall in New Orleans two weeks ago on vacation. Nicholas has a scout mask; Michael has Baby Yoda; Julianna has unicorns. Our masking preferences could not be more indicative of our personalities. 🙂

One of my mantras over the past sixteen years of motherhood has been “This is the season of life I am in right now.” It’s a simple mantra—a recognition that what I’m experiencing is not permanent. (As an aside: sixteen years? How did that happen?)

When things started to reopen this spring, I felt suffocated by the deluge. At first, I thought it was just an adjustment phase, and I came up with another mantra: “Busy-ness is a blessing.”

But after a few weeks I realized it wasn’t adjustment, it actually WAS as busy as I thought it was. Next came the sneaking suspicion, quickly denied, because who could handle it?, that the change was here to stay.

I can no longer deny it. For better or worse, it looks like this is my new “season.”

This one involves 4 schools—5, if you count the gifted program the youngest got into. It involves marching band, soccer, color guard, scouts, 4H, and piano lessons for my children. It involves restarting the choir, promoting a book while writing another one, and volunteering on two professional committees, while also trying to control the crabgrass in the yard and make sure everyone has school supplies and clothes and gets to see their friends, while my husband holds down the fort on an extremely intense job.

And the appointments! Mental health, pre-surgery, surgery. It’s never-ending. I felt like I’d hit the jackpot yesterday because going through the boys’ closet yielded almost complete sets of school clothes, which meant I could cross ONE thing off my calendar without leaving the home. I celebrated by practicing my flute for twenty minutes.

I’m carving out time for spiritual development and counseling for myself as well, which, at this time, is a great temptation to toss off b/c I’m really okay for the moment; I’d rather have the time! But I am sticking with it, because I know that maintenance is the best way to stay “not hurting,” at least mentally. Spiritually, I think I actually do need the time.

One of my friends, who has four boys herself (three of them successfully launched) says, “You’re in the thick of it now.” I realize that this is my next two years. In fact, we’re going to have to add to it, because there will be college visits and applications and a FAFSA that I am simply dreading.

I was thinking about it yesterday as I sat gnashing my teeth while filling out my address half a dozen times on different forms for the public school gifted program registration paperwork. (For the love of all that is holy! It is ONE school district! You have a server! Do it online and MAKE THE ADDRESS AND PHONE CARRY OVER!!!! Even I, the technophobe, know that you don’t need to have paper copies for every individual office anymore!) My only comfort was, At least this is the LAST TIME. Because all the other kids are already full-time in the public schools. Summer school paperwork for private school kids doesn’t transfer over, so I have to re-fill it out every year. But entry into the gifted program makes him officially a public school student and after this there will be a 90% reduction in paperwork to fill out.

(It’s the little things, you know.)

Anyway. I’m officially rambling. But I don’t have time to craft a succinct, clever post. I just wanted to say hello from the not-void. I’m pretty sure plenty of you will reach out in one way or another in solidarity. I know I’m not the only one going through this right now.