"Hail, bounteous May, that doth inspire Mirth, and youth...we salute thee with our early song, And welcome thee, and wish thee long.” -John Milton
Ah, May. The world is green again, the lilacs are in bloom, late afternoon brings the sounds of children playing outside and the crack of baseball bats echoing through the air. It's a wonderful time of the year, when all is new and fresh and lovely. We celebrate motherhood this month, honoring and thanking our moms for all they do for us.
And in May, that's quite a lot.
"I'm exhausted," said a mother of two elementary school children, who asked to remain anonymous. "Last week we had Open House at school, an all day field trip, Fun Fair, two end of the year parties at Enchanted Castle and something else I can't remember."
While our children are counting down to the last day of school, we're busy running around, trying to keep track of the crammed calendar that comes at the end of the school year. Whether your kiddo is a preschool tyke or a graduating senior, May is a frantic month of running to and from events and activities.
Concerts, class plays, field trips, Prom, award nights, receptions, banquets, class parties; the list is overwhelming even before you add in sports. Practices, games, meets are held (and canceled, and made up) in often fickle spring weather.
And let's not forget the paperwork. How could we? While we're in the middle of paying for new shoes for the concerts and school plays because, dammit, our son(s) refused to wait until summer before growing an entire shoe size OVERNIGHT, we're taking out a second mortgage to pay for school registration "fees."
Fees, my foot. I consider it blackmail, because you know by August we'd pay the moon for our children to get back in school before Bad Things Happen Because Mom Is Really Going To Lose Her Temper If You Fight With Each Other One More Time.
An informal and statistically irrelevant poll on my Facebook page "What is your feeling about the last month of school in terms of parental involvement?" netted these comments by disgruntled parents:
"Well. I have 2 ice cream socials to go to, there are still fundraisers going on, pictures just came back to pay for, then teacher appreciation AND end of the school year gifts to do. So yeah. What was the question?"
"I prefer to abstain, but I keep getting dragged into stuff. Can't the children & the school handle all these things? I'm too busy to raise my own children."
"Here's an idea: how about we actually have SCHOOL until the end of school?"
"The hectic stressful end of school year activities, obligations and fundraising is what makes us all enjoy summer and not hate having the kids home until mid July."
Now, before you think that my Facebook friends are a bunch of malcontent parents, I can honestly testify that every one of the commenters loves his or her children deeply. Really.
I've spent the past year as an empty-nester, and it's been quite an adjustment. I was one of the involved moms (yo, former PTA President, represent!) who ran around at the end of the school year, juggling color-coordinated schedules and making sure my boys had clean khakis for whatever that night's soiree happened to be. I've missed the moments.
Now, while all of my friends with younger children are applying extra concealer to hide the shadows under the eyes because they were up late (or early) making the perfect class basket for Teacher Appreciation Week, I'm feeling fresh as a daisy. While they're trying to be in two or three (or four, a personal record) places at one time, I'm cracking open a book and checking my Twitter for amusing anecdotes.
Enjoy it while it lasts, I've said, waving my hand expansively. You'll miss it when it's over.
Most of it, anyways. Not May.