Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Summer break creeping ever closer

I am already dreading summer break. I mean really, really dreading it. As in near-tears, tummy-hurting dreading it. I'll be smacked with it in about a month and although I'm already anticipating it I'm afraid it's going to leave me gasping for air like an unpleasant surprise that I wasn't prepared for.

Last summer was horrible, so frustrating and overwhelming with so many children to take care of all day long. (There are five of them, maybe not a lot to some people but definitely a lot to me.) The endless cooking, cleaning up after them, trying to keep them from getting too unruly, taking care of a baby and a sick child, and attempting to get some paid work done was just more than I could handle most days. Mondays were the worst, since I had had some help from my husband on Saturday and Sunday, and was again left alone with all of them while trying to get my work week started. By Tuesday mid-day I wondered how I was ever going to get through the week. This cycle continued pretty much all summer; by the time I figured out (with the help of a younger sister, thank you so much dear!) that I could spread my paid work out over the entire week a bit more instead of trying to do so much of it on Mondays, my first day along with all the children, it was almost time for them to return to school.

My plan had been so simple: work at the beginning of the week and take them somewhere fun at the end of the week. We had had a very good summer the year before, which was my first summer with our new baby and with taking care of my diabetic niece. I had thought that summer would be really tough, but since it turned out to be really nice I got my hopes up pretty high for having a good summer last year.

All my hopes came crashing down very quickly. I got behind the second week into summer and never caught up; there were several weeks where they didn't get to go anywhere at all. I was so behind, so exhausted from all the cooking, cleaning, maintaining, trying to get through the hours until another grownup showed up, and just so mentally and emotionally tired that I couldn't bear to think of all the preparations necessary for an outing. With a baby and a sick child you can't just stick your feet in your shoes and walk out the door. And you can't just send the kids somewhere for the day or weekend either. I tried pretty hard to arrange some times when they could all be gone but it never really worked out; other people have jobs, illnesses, and lives of their own.

I surely don't mean to be a whiner and a complainer, and I love every one of them so much I could just pop wide open. Spending time with each and every one of them in their all-too-fleeting childhoods is a privilege I cherish every single day. I just don't like summer break being dumped on me. I'm gonna pull myself up by my boot straps and try to be a big girl about it but I do not have high hopes at all.

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