It’s official: we have a 2nd grader and a 4th grader. Summer vacation commenced officially approximately nine hours ago. And I’m already pooped. (I suppose it doesn’t help that I’m entering this season with a cold. Boo). Summer vacation is awesome and yet exhausting at the same time. I love that most days we don’t HAVE to go anywhere. I try to not overschedule us and what scheduling I do is almost all fun stuff: going to the gym (for me to do spin)/kids club for them, going to the beach, going to the zoo, having playdates, etc. But there’s still the usual: yardwork, dishes, cooking, laundry (the last three chores all inevidably pile up during the summer as I’d much rather be outside working and playing).
I also think that I kind of rock summer in one respect: since the boys were very, very little I’ve had them do a little bit of “work time” nearly everyday. That’s right; I basically have my kids do summer school. But it’s at home; it’s just for an hour (two at the very most) and it keeps them from getting completely out of the learning/school habit. This year, I’m extra glad that this is what the boys have always known, as Matthew REALLY needs the extra work. While he did OK in school and had mostly fair grades, he’s definitely been struggling. Things are just taking a little longer to click. And it’s just going to get harder. We actually have the most awesome of awesome situations set up though: a dear friend of mine in book club is a 4th grade teacher and will be tutoring him once a week. SCORE!!! I’m SO thankful that she was able to fit us in; I hope and pray that this will be a huge help. Come fall, his current teacher scheduled a “Teacher Support Team” to meet. This is the most amaze-tastic sounding situation EVER. To my understanding it is an entire team – his teachers (past and present), the principal, the school psychologist and a couple of Special Ed/extra resource teachers – meeting for an hour to discuss Matthew (his test scores, strengths, weaknesses, personality traits, etc.) and how better to help him learn. If they think that he needs further resources then he might have some testing done, but just the fact that they all meet for an hour to discuss the needs of one student blows my mind. So with that plan and the tutoring this summer, I feel really good about all that we’re doing to help Matthew succeed in school.
Now, as to succeeding in life, in general and in the summer and in the Martin home…oye. Here’s the deal: I’m tired. I’m worn-down, frickin’ fatigued and kinda tapped out…and I think I’ve maybe, in some ways, been trying to catch up on sleep for the last year…and beyond. Let me explain: I don’t understand me. I don’t understand the me of a year ago. How the hell did I do it?!! I packed up an entire house, got a butt-ton of work done to that house, moved to this house and then, holy dooty! and then, last summer….what was I on?! (Nothing…other than wine and the occasional stiffer drink). But really, how did I do it?! (I really don’t know. I must’ve succeeded at avoiding any interaction with my children for like three months).
Last summer I unpacked (for the most part) and organized our shtuff. I painted the entire deck (which is a pretty darn big deck). I painted the kitchen. I painted the family room. I painted the office. I painted the entryway. I painted the powder room. I painted (one wall in) Matthew’s room. I painted (one wall in) Zachary’s room. I painted all the walls in Kayliana’s room. I painted our master bedroom. Holy CRAP. I got tired just TYPING that. Seriously. How?! I’m TIRED. And all this summer, really, my main goals are: paint the master bathroom (which IS a kind of freakishly large room) and sand and touch-up the deck and restain the deck railing (‘cuz I used the wrong stuff last year; darn it). A bonus project would be building the raised vegetable garden beds for next spring and making a little stone patio and EXTRA bonus would be the firepit addition that is dearmed up in my head.
But I’m tired. I’m thoroughly beat. I know I’ll be able to at least get the bathroom and deck done. Fine. OK, I can do that. But the thought is still daunting, and yet it’s like an eighteenth of what I did last year. Looking at the calendar for the months ahead, I already feel like it’s back-to-school/September. While there’s not THAT much going on, there’s enough and it just makes me think that the summer is going to go SO freakin’ fast and be a whirlwind and there’s a lot I want to get done and yet…and yet…I’m so stinkin’ spent, worn to the bone, dog-gone it dog-gone tired!! For no real good reason…or maybe….just maybe….
I had this epiphany recently. The past 9-12 months (with the exception of our anniversary trip to meet up with Kayliana in the ER for her dislocated elbow) have been, for the most part, uneventful. We’ve been a (somewhat, sorta, as much as we can be) ‘normal’ middle class family with three children. Our time was spent shuttling the kids to and from school and to and from various sports, friends, family, volunteer and church commitments. We’ve been, by most people’s opinion: typical. Normal. It’s taken me SEVERAL months to realize that we’re finally ‘boring.’ But boring in a good way. As someone recently put it: not boring, but STABLE.
The thing is I DO want to be drama-free. I WANT to be boring. I WANT to just LIVE a ‘normal’ life. But honestly, when the first eleven years of your life (meaning your combined, married life…obviously I’ve been alive for longer than eleven years – I’m not good at math, but I at least get that), anyway, when your eleven years have basically been filled with going from one MAJOR dramatic event to the next, it’s what you get used to; it’s what you know. I need to get used to the new normal of boring or ‘stable,’ as it were. Here’s our first eleven years of marriage in a nutshell. Yes, there were some lulls in the massive life-events, but I STILL fight the constant feeling of just waiting for the next shoe to drop, so to speak.
Year One: 2001-02 We graduated college, got married, started new jobs, and Mike had Cancer (yep, that was a doozy)
Year Two: 2002-03 Bought our first house, tried to get pregnant
Year Three: 2003-04 Mike had his tonsils out, had surgery/dislocated foot/cutches, got pregnant, Matthew was born! Year Four: 2004-05 Trained for and ran my first marathon, life with a baby
Year Five: 2005-06 Coordinators for Engaged Encounter, pregnant with Zachary – 7 weeks of hospital bedrest
Year Six: 2006-07 Dealing with Postparum Depression, coping with life with 2 kiddos, do therapy – LOVE it
Year Seven: 2007-08 Begin plans for co-chairing the National Engaged Encounter Convention
Year Eight: 2008-09 Begin massive adoption/homestudy process, boys are both in school at least part of the day, get more serious about my music business and teach quite a bit more
Year Nine: 2009-10 National Engaged Encounter Convention mania! AND our daughter Kayliana is born!
Year Ten: 2010-11 Finalize Kayliana’s adoption, begin thinking about moving, celebrate 10th wedding anniversary with a staycation (with clingy Kayli at home with us but the boys with my parents)
Year Eleven: 2011-12 Pack up, sell and move homes, spend our 11th Anniversary in the ER dealing with Kayli’s dislocated ‘nursemaid’ elbow, the boys start at a new school
Year Twelve: 2012-13 BE NORMAL!! (school, work, little league, exercise, eat, poop, sleep, live!)…
So, I don’t know…I’m just kind of tired. Honestly, I feel like I wimped out a bit this school year. I kind of took a little bit of a break from my life (as much as possible) or at least I took a break from pushing myself SO hard. Most mornings I slept until 6:45 or 7 instead of getting up at 5:30 to run or write. I excercised while the boys were at school instead of actually getting the laundry put away and making dinner ahead of time and being all ‘super mom productive’ and stuff. I did more ‘easy’ dinners and we did too much eating out. But it was nice. It was REALLY nice. I don’t think after all the events that we’ve jam-packed into the last twelve years that I could’ve done another year of go, go, go. I might’ve seriously lost it. So, I need to cut myself some slack. It’s OK to sleep until 7. It’s OK to work out at 10:30am instead of 5:30am. It’s OK to leave dirty dishes in the sink. It’s OK to not expect so much from myself – especially this summer. It’s OK – actually, it’s really, REALLY good – to be normal, stable, GOOD boring.