It’s that time of year where I start to feel like I’m coming up short. Short on time, short on attention, short on patience, short on understanding. Spring is finally here, the weather is usually warming up a little, and thank-goodness daylight savings time (best invention ever!) has begun. Sunlight is a most welcome intervention for those of us that tend to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (yes, it is a real thing, and sunlight really is the treatment). So, why the spring for coming up short? The short days are over, the planet is tilting toward the sun, everyone should be starting to feel a little better... right?
Everyone has those seasons of life that are thankfully (for most) short lived, but that also wreak havoc on emotions, or relationships. No one is immune to stress, believe it or not. Everyone knows someone who seems like they have it all together: always these people are wearing real clothes, and have their hair washed, and they look presentable. Here’s a secret, though: even said put together people are stressed out sometimes, and they probably even hide out in their bathroom just to have a few minutes of peace- I’m just sayin’- I know one of these super-people, and she swears she has her moments. My season for hiding out-I can’t even-I don’t want to go out or do anything-have to talk to people...is spring. I’m irritable from the allergies (that are worse every single year!), I’m hypersensitive to everything around me, and for reasons I still haven’t figured out even after twenty-two years of marriage, my husband is always emotional in the spring. And, this makes me (very) emotional. The emotional barometer in our house is just whack-a-doo March through May. We are whack-a-doo March through May.
On top of everything else, it’s testing season. SATs, SOLs, Drivers License Testing, finals, projects, you-name-it, it all happens in the spring. We homeschool, yes, and we still have to do a standardized test every year. So, I’m short emotionally, and educationally - even if I really am not short educationally - it feels like I am. Did we cover enough material? Will the children score well enough to not make people think we are doing nothing? That little one of mine just does not retain any information unless it has to do with Minecraft. She dislikes history, she despises writing, she is a reluctant reader, and she barely tolerates math and science. I’m always challenged emotionally and educationally when I consider her. It’s a good thing I’m crazy about her! She has a photography assignment due tomorrow, and she is asking for one of the pistols so she can put a flower with it and call it a still-life. I’m like, “whaaaaaat?!”
I can only offer a little bit of wisdom, here, and it’s this: Roll with it. I know that it all will work out. I naturally stress if given any scenario, including happy things. My oldest, Tommy, is on the Autism Spectrum, and I just had no idea what I was going to do with “this kid”. Well, Tommy is successfully living away from home and participating in training for a job. My middle child, like me, stresses and gets anxious about most of the things of life. She is my peace-maker, and she will be blessed, but it’s a hard place to be when you are sixteen. I’m sure she is going to be OK; she is going to be driving on her own soon, and she is pretty much independent school-wise. Every time I start to worry about her, she surprises me with a breakthrough, or some spontaneous bit of wisdom only a middle girl could give. Even that little one is going to pass her tests (maybe by the skin of her teeth- or mine- mind you), and keep it together for her old mom, if only because I’m praying fervently for that peace that passes all understanding. The husband, even, always seems to show up with exactly what I need (hugs and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, if you must know) even though he works so hard, and hardly gets a day off, and just needs about seventy-two hours of sleep- in a row- all at once... Some day, baby... we just need to hang in there!
Testing time will pass, and the tests of life, those pesky seasons that seem to drag on and on; they will pass, too. One time, long ago, I paused long enough to blink, and here I am with three teenagers. The testing has looked different, and the seasons have varied, but we seem to keep making it through, somehow. So, to all the moms and dads and parent-people out there, know you aren’t alone! You aren’t the only one who hasn’t slept for three days. You aren’t alone in wearing yoga pants and a baseball cap. You aren’t exclusively having the worst day ever. For sure, we (parents) are all in the same proverbial boat, and sometimes it might feel like it’s sinking. This may happen for you out of the blue, or it is something that seems cyclic, and you are surprised by it, even though it happens every year, around the same time of year. Stop being surprised by stress. Know that the tests are coming. Be comforted that these seasons don’t last forever. Look around, count your blessings, and keep calm, and parent on!