Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How dumb am I?

This is a rhetorical question.

My friend K remarked recently that I didn't whine, bitch and moan (at least on my blog) nearly as much as I have in summers past, which suggests that I might be hitting a nice little groove with the kids during extended periods of time spent together.

Nevertheless, I was looking forward to the start of school.  I always have.  As a kid, I was happy when summer break was upon me, but by the end of July I was ready once again to have my brain fully occupied by school.  I was ready for a routine that didn't involve watching Remington Steele.

And as a mom, that feeling is no different.  N going to school (and soon G going to preschool) gives me things to talk about with her, ways to stay involved, active, in-tune with the world outside my home.  I felt tremendous relief when I finally realized that it is simply impossible for me to meet all her needs. It is far healthier for her to get out among other kids and other adults and establish herself for who she is, without me being with her constantly.  She's not going to stay under my wings forever.

My angst at school being canceled Monday and today made me worry though that maybe N was reading my frustration as "I want N to get the hell away from me," which is not the case.  Yes, having 1 less child underfoot will be a vacation of sorts......I can't lie.  Having one less person making messes from sun-up until sun-down, or asking for snacks every 30 minutes or saying, "Mom, watch this!" is easier.  

But N is the most sensible one of the 3 kids, so if I was gonna really want a break from someone (due to the child just being highly irritating and exasperating) it certainly wouldn't be her.  (I don't think I need to mention by name whom it would be.)

I tried to explain to her why I was so frustrated about school being canceled the first two days.  I explained how when we went to Disney World in June we had bought new clothes and packed and made reservations and bought park tickets.  And I asked her how she would have felt if the day before we left, we would have told her, "Nope.  We're not leaving tomorrow."  Would she have felt frustrated, and she said, with eyes wide, an emphatic, "YES!"  And then I asked if she would be even more frustrated if the next day we said to her, "Well, we're not leaving tomorrow either, and we don't know when we're going to leave."

I think the school cancellation caused me to experience what amounts to anticipatory blue balls.

So why, with me desperate for the school routine, am I now feeling a little sad that the summer is over and school will be back in session tomorrow?

Even though I yearn for the break that school gives me (and her), I know the year will pass ever so quickly and she will be even more grown-up, needing even less from me than she does now.  And while that is the ultimate goal, it makes me sad that time marches on.

How can I want and need time away from my kids and want and need my kids to stay little and cling to me and stay by my side at the exact same time?

The mental gymnastics of motherhood are exhausting.  


Keri said...

Bittersweet, that's pretty much THE word to sum up motherhood, isn't it? There are SO many ways that I'm torn like that, wanting my kids to remain samll and dependent while rejoicing at their growth and the ways they're moving in exciting new directions without me....

Kelsey said...

My feelings about Harper going back to school are 99% positive and 1% intense anxiety about her peanut allergy.

Mostly we're all itching for the routine of school - though maybe for different reasons. I have primarily enjoyed my children this summer but we all need a little time apart!

I'm glad school is finally beginning for you - that really would have driven me bonkers.