Do not tell me I'm being over dramatic, either.
It started off innocent enough. April ended and we were looking forward to the full bloom of spring. The kids anticipated cruising leisurely into the end of the school, getting the respite we are all ready for.
I got an email reminding me that I had signed my son up for baseball. "Great," I thought, "An evening or two each week spent outside, at the ball field. Dinners in the waning light." I think I even sighed at the perfection of the image I'd conjured: well-behaved kids sitting on a quilt spread over a grassy field, happily eating food I'd cooked hours before because I am such a great planner.
Then, my daughters started bringing home notices for tests, projects, and concerts. As the pile grew, I felt a pang of annoyance that instead of hikes in the woods on weekend afternoons, we would be in the craft store loading project supplies into our cart. Doing research and filling out permission slips are not my idea of a fun spring.
Adding the concert dates (yes, plural because I will have attended 6 school concerts when all is said and done [including two on the same night]) I began to notice that the schedule was filing up. We were double booked most nights, sometimes triple booked. My stomach tightened and my throat felt dry.
If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm a bit of an introvert who loves books. This month has been trying for me on both counts. It's not just my family at the baseball field. I have to be friendly with other parents. And this is challenging sometimes. I just want to sit and read but our schedule has me driving my car for hours with kids talking endlessly.
The other night, I was reading at the ball field and a foul came straight at my head. I was almost Owen Meaney'ed. It would have been even more poetic if I had been reading Owen Meaney. That sneaky May!
All this to tell you, May is hard. Which, if you have a kid in school, you know already. There are so many things to do and places to be that we fall into bed and conk out.
While I have struggled to make it to the 29th day of this month, this year I've done a better job of not sliding into despair.
Regular exercise and boring eating habits (I eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch most days) streamline my life. I hate exercise and would rather be reading every second. But, if I go for a walk or do my workout routine I'm a lot less likely to erupt like a volcano when things get hard, I have more energy for the evening, and I savor the times when I do get to sit and read.
Taking breaks the smart way has changed me for the better. Instead of checking social media, I'm reading a few pages from my book. Instead of scrolling through lists and emails and feeling panicked, I'm having a short conversation with one of my kids.
Practicing gratitude is changing me and my family. When I start to lose my grip I think about what I'm thankful for. So many of the interruptions and stress just need a little perspective to be diffused.
We were freaking out about last minute prep for a concert the other night and instead of losing my mind and screaming and crying which is my usual go-to response, I said, "This is a middle school concert, not life or death. If we're 10 minutes late, it will all be ok." And then I focused on being grateful for my kids and their love of music. No yelling. No screaming. No crying. It was awesome.
I will not go gentle into that good May. I will rage, rage against the dying of the day.
Going into May with open eyes this year made me aware that I needed to make some changes. I wouldn't say I love May, but I do think May tried to kill me and just couldn't do it. I am sitting here, triumphant. Not buried under a stack of permission slips, not a crying mess. Instead, I am ready for June. Which will be difficult in its own right as we make the transition to summer schedules (or lack thereof) and lots of visitors. Sounds super fun, huh?
Do you love/hate May?