Almost every year when May comes, I fretted about how I’ll get work done without the steady, reliable school schedule. So I dreaded the long summer months. Right on schedule, it happened last year. Except, instead of fighting it, I accepted it. And you know what? It was one of the best summers I ever had. No trips. No special events. Nothing.
What was different? Other than my attitude, not much really. I spent most weekends reading great books by the pool while my sons swam. (Faves: “Ready Player One,” “The Night Circus” and “Gone Girl” – affiliate links) I took a day off to go to an amusement park with my family. Instead of dwelling on high amusement park prices, I lived in the moment. The moment of being on a ride. The moment of snapping a picture of my younger son’s big smiling face. (Yes, that there is the photo.) The moment of seeing a cool light show. (This was a group that appeared on “America’s Got Talent.”)
Recognizing family changes
Did I dread it when summer came to a close? No. I was ready for the school year to begin again. Everything has its time. It’s a matter of accepting it and making the most of it. Hard to believe that just 14 years ago, I had only one child and a less complex life. Now, she’s finishing up her first year of college and my younger son has only one year left in elementary school. When he finishes, we’ll have been at this elementary school 14 years! Right now, the thought of leaving the school makes me sad because I’ll miss the staff and the school being a regular part of my life. It also means not having any more elementary-aged kids.
Maybe I’ll be ready by the time fifth grade graduation rolls around. Last year, people asked me if I was sad about my daughter going off to college. I wasn’t. She was ready just like she was also ready for middle school and high school when the time came. Those changes weren’t hard. Even watching my older son as he prepares to leave behind a wonderful middle school program and enter high school this fall isn’t hard either.
However, he has some challenges, so I’m more nervous about him handling a more challenging class schedule in a much larger environment. I need to remind myself to accept it. Just let it be. If something comes up, I’ll handle it when it comes. I’ve done all I can to help him right now.
Maybe this being my youngest of three makes it different. I’m also the youngest of three. My dad called me — a mom of his three grandchildren — his baby right up until his death. In the meantime, I’m in the present. He’s still in fourth grade, still in elementary school, still losing teeth. He did just turn 10, so no more single digit aged kids. I’ve accepted it, but it didn’t stop me from joking about it and pretending to be all pouty.
Quashing the Sunday afternoon or Monday blues
This approach works well with the Monday blues. I don’t hate Mondays. I think of them as the start of getting back to our regularly scheduled programming. Actually, I struggled more with Sunday late afternoons / early evenings than with Monday. (Hey, “The Good Wife” is on Sunday nights.) It meant winding down the weekend and preparing for the upcoming work and school week. That changed when I flipped my perspective.
The downside of being a one-person business is the guilt that comes whenever I find myself not working at any time during the work week. No work = no earning. Weekends give me respite from that. Thus, Sunday became a time when I get a break from feeling like this. Be accepting. I debated whether to sign up to volunteer to go on a field trip with my son’s fourth grade class. Miss a whole day of work? How many more field trips does my son have left? I went. Now I have another great memory.
Time flies. Soon, Monday morning will be Monday evening. Then it’ll be Hump Day and then Friday all over again. Monday is going to come back. So might as well be present and make the most of it.
We have enough stress that dealing with times of the year we don’t like is wasteful. Be accepting. It feels better and calmer. Sounds simple, but sometimes it works.
May has rolled around again. Summer will be here when it gets here. The plan? Read great books, swim some and ride my bike. (I’m weird. I only like to swim and bike in warm weather. Yes, even with indoor swimming pools.)
How do you handle things you don’t like that are coming up? What great books do you recommend?