My family is doing our best to maintain a schedule that enables those of us completing grades three and six to continue to focus in class, and behave in a manner considered appropriate for their ages. This is getting more difficult each day as the excitement and anticipation of summer vacation builds, and the activity level of this time of year increases.
Trudging through June is like climbing a mountain, and reaching the summit is the triumphant and glorious freedom from the rigid routines that were established way back in September. Although the climb is exhilarating and enriching, we sometimes have to wonder if we really knew what we were getting ourselves into …but we’ve come way too far to turn back.
Each spring, our kids talk us into registering them for more activities than we should. They convince us that the only time the schedule will be really busy is June. They speak of the “summit” in July and we agree; when their schedule adjusts in the summer, the activity level will not only be easily manageable, but likely welcome.
Every evening, I thoroughly enjoy watching my kids play soccer and baseball, but I often find myself planning the next stage, which is getting them home and then to bed “on time.” I know that soon, this concern will be packed away, along with the indoor shoes and lunch bags, but for now, I can’t leave home without it. The number of late nights has been climbing, and the kids’ footholds on the mountain seem to be less secure, as they sometimes appear to be barely hanging on.
In order to get out the door and to their activities on-time, we eat our “evening” meal at a time I suspect most people are still digesting their lunch. We then hastily gather the required equipment for that evening’s activities. As pairs of just about everything are needed – shin pads, soccer socks, cleats – this task is doubly difficult. As we search, I confidently declare to whoever happens to be listening, that tonight – and I really mean it this time – immediately after returning home the gear MUST be properly stored so next time it’s easier to find.
It’s often the beautiful weather that prevents us from following through with my goal of a sensible bedtime. As parents and players linger after the game or practice, we know that we could very well be shivering our way through tomorrow evening’s activity while being pelted with rain. Given this unpredictability, it hardly seems right or just to rush the kids home when they are enjoying the fresh spring air.
Of course, if we do manage to get them home in time, there is always previously forgotten homework, permission forms to be recovered from backpacks and signed, dirty bare feet to be washed, grumbling stomachs to satisfy… and, of course, SPORTS EQUIPMENT TO BE GATHERED AND STORED PROPERLY.
As each evening progresses, I reluctantly abandon the notion of “early” bedtime as it inevitably fades to “on-time.” Soon, we reach “late” and then finally, along with a glance at the clock and a silent apology to their teachers because the kids will be exhausted tomorrow, “really late.”
Every morning it begins again, and as the school bus pulls away we complete a segment of the challenging ascent that gets us ever closer to the top. And, along the way, we sustain the occasional injury to which we apply band aid solutions, but can’t properly care for… until the end of June.