Friday, June 23, 2017

Finish strong, Dear Mama

For some of you, summer has already arrived.

For others, today is the day!

For the rest of us parents, next week is the week when children at home all day every day becomes our reality again.

Are you ready?

Can I be honest with you for a moment? I am shaking a little in my flip flops. I am an odd combination of enthused, elated and completely terrified. We desperately need a change of scenery and a respite from our patterns as of late but I'm not entirely convinced spending every waking moment together is going to be quite the "break" we are looking for.

This morning was typical. I remembered at 8:25 AM that today was the day my second grader's summer birthday was to be celebrated in her class. Her teacher just told me about this two days ago, along with a myriad of other emails. We leave for school at 8:55 which meant I had a grand total of 30 minutes. Though it was made clear my daughter "would still be celebrated" if she didn't bring a treat to share, reading between the lines, the message was clear: If I were a "good" mom, she would arrive with a birthday dessert in arms. Great.

Had you been in my house from 8:26 AM onward, you would have found me in my kitchen throwing together brownie "muffins" because they were the only thing I could think of that even had a slim chance at baking completely before we needed to be walking out the door to school. My efforts were, I'd say, maybe 73% successful. Like the awesome mom that I am, I sent her to school with the chocolate goodies still steaming IN A PIPING HOT MUFFIN TIN that I literally pulled out of the oven 13 seconds before. They were slightly undercooked but I'm sure the 6 minutes of sunshine they received on the walk down the hill to school gave them a nice sun-baked finish.

I've got this Momming thing down pat, y'all.

Oh and not only was today the day to celebrate the summer birthdays, but it was also "Walk and Talk Day" as well as "Stuffed Animal Day," whatever the heck that means. Yay! All I know is that the festivities therein caused a major kerfluffle when it was time to leave for school because no one had ALL THE THINGS in their backpacks for walking and talking and stuffed animal ceremonial libations.

I am told today also happens to be the end of the year assembly and, for all I know, my kids could be performing in it but I have no idea because my head won't stop spinning from trying to keep all the other school activities from earlier in the week straight. You see, yesterday was "Field Day" so we were told to pack our kids with running shoes, a water bottle, and sun screen (a non-spray variety only please, but be sure it's one your child can successfully self-apply because no one will be permitted to help them.....right). The day before that, one kid had "Read On A Beach Towel Day" (where she was to do the obvious - bring a beach towel and books) and the other kid had her special Kindergarten Celebration party and we were to bring refreshments.

Call me a spoil-sport but I am really tired and am SO. OVER. ALL. THE. SPECIAL. DAYS.

Then I got a notice that my 5 year old has apparently been buying lunch at school without my knowing and has drained her lunch money account into the red and we need to get some money to the office ASAP before the last day of school. I sent her with money to pay it off yesterday but now I'm told we are still two quarters shy. I'm only remembering this now as I type as I'd intended to give her the coins before she left this morning but in all the brownie mess and stuffed animal day business, of course I forgot.

Don't mind me. I'm totally rocking it.

Also, you know those "Take-Home Reading books" the kids have been bringing home all year? The school wants them back. And they were supposed to be delivered to the classroom by Monday and here it is Friday afternoon and who knows how many might be hiding in their bedrooms still. Oh! And good news! I finally made it to the school office to request that vague sheet that the staff kept eluding to where I could request my child be put in a separate classroom from a problematic classmate next year....only to learn that it is past due.....on May 45 days ago.


I feel like for the most part I'm sort of an on-top-of-it kind of mom. Except for the fact that I only remembered like 3 Mondays THIS ENTIRE YEAR that it was library day for my younger one, and that, in order to check out a new book, she had to actually return the one she already had. She checked out a grand total of maybe 5 whole books this year and I'm not even exaggerating (2 because the librarian must have been feeling especially merciful toward the poor child). We have only been doing this school thing for 179 days and we are still a wild and harried mess most of the time. I haven't even attempted to volunteer in her classroom, because, well, maybe it's obvious.

Anyone? Please tell me it isn't just me.

I am so totally over all the rushing and all the remembering (or not), the organizing and arranging, the piling and filling out papers, the helping with homework and running to the store for the special things for the special party, all the scheduling and the timer-setting. I'm plum out of steam. Maybe I will be back on board next year. But for right now, sorry, all I've got to offer are the leftovers. And they aren't pretty. Teachers, forgive me. Y'all are amazing.

June is such a tease. We are tired and ready for a change of pace and everyone quit doing their reading logs back in April and we are just trying to drag our ragged bodies toward that finish line. Though it is literally in our line of sight, it couldn't feel farther away.


How will I do this? How will we make it through summer? We need a break. We need a respite from the crazy. But won't three kids at home just make it all the more crazy? I've been pinning to my Pinterest board, which I've entitled it "Surviving Summer" desperately this week to try and ready myself. But I want to do so, so much more than just survive. I want us to THRIVE. And we are far, far from thriving right now.

Finish strong, Dear Mama. Finish strong.

Maybe you too are drowning in all the feels right now? You aren't the only one! I know how hard it can be to hear those around you expressing elation for the coming summer days when all you feel is dread. I also know what it's like to feel the exact opposite - to look forward to freedom from the expectations and rigorous schedules that the school year requires of you. And yet this excitement makes you feel bad because you fear appearing ungrateful toward the teachers or maybe it means you don't value your child's education enough?

Rid yourself of it. Rid yourself of all of it! Take a deep breath and pray over your family. Think about YOUR people - what do YOUR people need, what makes YOU GUYS thrive? Ignore those around you who are signing up for all the camps and who are creating structure for their summers if that isn't what you need. Ignore those around you who are doing more of a "take it as it comes" approach if what your family needs right now is structure. We aren't going to thrive by following the same recipe. Our family dynamics differ. We aren't going to look the same as those around us and that's a good thing, a very good thing indeed.

So as you look toward summer, it's ok to feel excited. It's ok to be dreading it a bit too (or a lot). Bring it all before the Lord and leave it there. Erase the guilt and trade it in for His strength. Take heart, you aren't the only one feeling desperately messy right now. Trust me.

Finish strong, Dear Mama. Finish strong. You've got this.


  1. As always, you speak to my heart. I'm excited for summer and dreading it at the same time. It seems so simple, but your reminder to bring it to the Lord struck me. Thanks kels! Let's try and get together this summer!!

    1. You and I are much alike, Stephanie! ❤️ I'm writing to convince myself as much as I am to try and encourage others. Yes let's meet up this summer!

  2. I agree!! Seriously all of your posts hit home to me! I just went back and re read this one. Seriously to all of this. Just reading it reminds me the insane of school year and esp the end!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts Always!! Makes me feel more normal and that it's all good!!


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