We are in the birth canal of summer. Before the last days of school and spring sports season, it is a whirlwind of details with kids. Since we started Parenting On Track, we have taken ourselves out of a lot of equations of our kids’ responsibilities, but spring seems to bring us into the heart of almost every aspect of their lives. Deadlines are fierce at this time of year. Both innkeeping and speaking keep my own head swirling enough on their own, but every year this is the month I break into a dragon-slaying madwoman of my own making.
There are endless concerts, performances, games and end-of-year parties to attend or to RSVP not to attend (holds brain space almost as much as attending sometimes). Gift contributions for teachers and coaches are intended to reach backpacks and soccer bags. I am grateful for our kids’ row part of that boat and take on the baking of Scooby snacks for the parties. They are also good at keeping track of the events and times for us to attend, however, I am in the loop enough to host some responsibility. Since we choose to limit screen time for our kids, the scramble to RSVP for parties and events is in our court, therefore I invite more clutter to enter my already scattered tweaky mind. Since we drive the car to get to these events, keeping some timing organized is part of this. What has become most apparent is this tweaky mind of mine that requires me to compensate by depending on lists, responsible kids and a master schedule.
Unfortunately, I have a few things working against me. The cocktail of budding dementia, perimenopause and some ADHD seems to keep my tweak level the same even though our kids have taken over so much of the timing and remembering. I am still not really getting ahead thanks to aging and a few head injuries over the years. Even though a good chunk of this stuff is not my responsibility, my drifty mind still has items floating around taking up space. I chase that stuff around my brain trying to put it out of its misery. I was watching my son’s lacrosse game a few weeks ago, and one of my friends (another mom who has FIVE children) showed up and said, “I am really embarrassed to ask this, but what team are they playing?” I had been sitting there for some time, and the game was well underway. I hadn’t even bothered to strain my eyes to read the jerseys. I confessed that my mind took on the only detail it had room forget him to the field at 12:45. She was so relieved there were others like her.
Our oldest son is great about reminding me that the brain floaters are not necessary. When I am verbally processing the practice drop-off and pick-up schedule for three kids the third time, he often says, “We have this figured out and don’t need to be reminded.” He is right; the verbal diarrhea is about reminding myself. I wish I could hand him the keys. I look forward to my chance to ride in the third seat without any control of the radio station or what is next in life. A nap in a giant tilted car seat with a sippy cup is my new fantasy. Little do these children of ours know how soon they will be changing my diapers.
Is my self-created angst about transitions and endings? Possibly. It could also mean that I can’t wait for lazy hot mornings to snuggle with my kids with no agenda for the day ahead. Bruce and I will have work to do each day, but we can dip in and out of the activities. I live vicariously watching our kids decide to read, throw a ball around, swim, hang with the chickens, cruise around the woods, collect frogs, kick a ball or just hang out staring at the clouds. They also have the opportunity to work with us and make money. Summer is great!
What I like to hear most from my kids is when they complain about being bored. What a privilege. A constant stream of stimuli fills our lives these days that there isn’t a chance to be bored. Smartphones have people connected to friends, family, entertainment and information at all times. Boredom is elusive and challenging to find. While children feel tortured by boredom, parents long for it.
Our cell phones don’t work well in Etna, so we turn them off. This morning a storm cut off our landlines. I closed down my email. The beds are made up and ready for the weekend guests. I can only hear the refrigerator, a distant chicken squawking and my fingers typing. I have the rare time and mental space to just write. When I finish writing, I might just get a passing whiff of boredom if I am lucky.