It’s now “Week three” of back-to-school. I sigh out loud with relief. My sister recently empathized, “I know you must be beyond busy and overwhelmed with school starting.” I almost snorted out loud with the irony of it, because for me, summer “break” is an oxymoron. Summer is the time that my parenting goes into overdrive. What’s the activity for the week? Are we spending money on camp, or taking a family trip? Each summer, for eight weeks or more, scheduling fun and entertainment for my kids is my second full time job.
Hell no! I replied (or something to that effect). What I really feel is the calm after the storm. I can breathe again, I told her. And construct an uninterrupted thought. Imagine that.
My girls didn’t share my enthusiasm for summer drawing to a close. Lily sadly remarked, a week before school started, “Our summer break is ending.” And with her wistful expression, my heart filled, because her sadness at seeing summer end validated all the activities and trips I had created for our family. It meant that summer had been a success for my kids, a happy time, and full of enjoyment.
And so fall begins, and we are planning one last pool party to mark the end of the warmest of our California days. I finally have time to attend to the mass of papers that have been sitting on my desk and surrounding my computer. Yes, the laundry still has to get done. Dinners still need to be planned. But for six hours or more, the quiet of my home and remote office envelopes me like a welcoming blanket, and I feel at peace.
It may be the end of summer, but it’s also the beginning of owning some real “me time.”
Thank heaven for back-to-school.