As summer 2011 draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on where I was last year at this time. It was my baby boy’s final summer before kindergarten and I was more than a little bit concerned that empty-nest syndrome would be hitting me bad, come fall. The pitter patter of little feet wouldn't be echoing mine for the first time in eight years, and a piping voice asking endless questions would be silent for much of the day. I envisioned myself lonely and bereft, cuddling with a worn and faded baby blanket and my cat as I whiled away the long hours during the school day.
Cue the laugh track: "HA! HA! HA!"
This year I know better. I know that the summertime exhaustion of running Katherine and Robert to camp, to the pool, to play dates, and dragging them along on me with errands will not give way to a cool and relaxing fall, but rather will be replaced with the hassle of packing lunches that they might actually eat, drilling them on homework, and haranguing them to practice piano in addition to running them to soccer practice and games. During the hours they are at school, I will keep busy with various combinations of the following:
*My part time job at the University of Mary Washington *Doctor appointments (I save the really fun ones like the annual gyno and mammogram for when they are in school) *Laundry *Errands *Housework *Yard work *Bill paying *Trying to force myself to go to the gym *Other miscellaneous things such as vet visits and field trips that are sure to crop up. I can't let myself forget the inevitable snow days and sick days either, both of which will throw my carefully balanced schedule totally off track and are likely to lead to extra doctor’s visits/pharmacy trips; and let’s not forget the mess in the house that is compounded whenever a kid or two is at home all day!
So, as I gasp my way towards summer's finish line I am no longer foolish enough to suppose that I will be either lonely or bored come fall. Tired though I am from a long, hot summer of refereeing quarrels, planning "fun and educational" outings, and trying to keep up with my energetic offspring, I know there is no rest for the weary, especially not for weary moms.
That yellow school bus will be pulling away from the curb soon enough and I will be peeling out after it, rushing to work, to the doctor’s office, and to the grocery store. It is a wild and crazy life, during these years with young kids in the house, but I would not trade it for anything...at least not MOST days!
Mary Becelia lives in southern Stafford with her husband and two children.