Sent to me by a friend, this comic made me laugh out loud. You see, it is me to a tee. I relish in life’s busyness until I hit a tipping point and dream of the comfort of routine, but when I am in a “routine” I go bananas from the “sameness” of my days and fear I’m missing out on life’s many adventures. Oy. Anyone else spin on this same crazy wheel?
I am pretty used to it. But it really hits home for me right now. Well June is a weird time of year for many of us. Besides work and regular life responsibilities, it seems every hour of every day is packed with the hustle and bustle of “end of school” activities, spring sports, preparing summer plans whatever they may be, family road trips, “cottaging” as we do here in Canada, summer camp or just play dates at the local park for your kids so they are not inside with “multiple screens” for friends. It is busy busy busy and I love that..hence the comic ….but then … Boom! All the busyness stops and the lazy days of summer begin … that is of course until mid-August when those pesky ads start appearing for pencils and backpacks.
For me, the “unstructured” days of summer always send me into a bit of a tizzy. As I have said, probably at nauseum, I am the quintessential busy bee and so it takes me a while to well, relax. Get comfortable with a slower pace. Weird, I know but that is just my rhythm … and this summer in particular it is compounded with the added whammy of both of my children going to sleep-away camp for the very first time. See, I have twins. So I don’t get a trial run with one child going first, and cozy quality time with the other. Nope. Both, gone in one felt swoop disguised as a “camp bus”. I know, I can hear many of you with younger children thinking, “ this woman is nuts”, “ridiculous”, “We should all have these problems”. And yes, my husband also wondered when this day would come for years as we politely watched friends with older kids enjoy, travel and look forward to “their summers”. It really looked like so much fun! But now that it is here. It certainly doesn’t feel so fun, actually kind of sad, and honestly, a bit terrifying.
What to do with the time? It feels so open-ended. Will I be bored? Will I be lonely? Will I be staring at the tidy bedrooms they left behind unable to get out of my pj's? I have no idea and to me,… that is scary.
The irony of my whole “fragile state” is that I lived alone for 12 years after University! No kids, no partner! Just me. My twenties and early 30’s were spent living the typical life of a New Yorker, working hard, playing hard and living in my own apartment. (It was actually more of a shoebox with mice but it was mine). Successful career, lots of travel and nobody to really worry about but myself. I did it and loved it. Eventually that solo life took me biking in the canyons of Utah where unexpectedly, I met the man I would marry. Not right away and not a straight course to the alter either , but don't you think it sounds more romantic that way? And yes, I learned to be “2”, not just a “1”, to make compromises, share, and make choices personally and professionally that worked for both of us, not just me. We didn’t have kids right away, also not an easy course (not as romantic) so again we lived a pretty easy life. Careers, travel and lots of freedom.
Kids eventually came, together. Twins, and we quickly multiplied from 2 to 4. We learned to parent, both of us not having a clue. And as our boys continue to grow, our choices and pictures of success have both changed. Trying to keep in mind what works for ” two”, to what works for “four”. It is not perfect , there is an ebb and a flow where one of us needs the spotlight for some reason or another and the others stand back, sometimes a good reason and sometimes not, but most of the time we try and work together as a family.
And so you are probably asking, WHY I write about all of this? Besides just asking for “virtual” hugs because I am going to miss my kids terribly?
Because like the lady in the comic, I constantly ride this wheel of routine/excitement/frenzy. Over and over again. Some planned, some conscious decision-making, some personal challenges that I set for myself, and some just because I was open to what came my way. These changes have always take me to a new place even if the ride gets bumpy and scary.
So this summer I am faced with going from the “overwhelmed” June pace to what even comes before the routine is set, a sense of emptiness when my boys leave. Where will it lead? Not sure.
But, after I dry my tears and know that they are having the time of their lives at camp, I know I will somehow get back on the ride. Create a few new routines. Maybe even some new activities besides work that could make this time feel special and yes, maybe even a little exciting. I am lucky. I adore my husband. His sense of adventure, friendship, energy and humor are infectious,(although he is currently referring to our kids going to camp as an "emotional tsunami", so there may be some clean up to do there. There may also be a choice; a lack of routine that could lead to boredom and self-induced misery or an opportunity to just be in the moment, enjoy … and be extremely thankful there is still ten more years till University. Coffee anyone? I'm free.