Slow it Down

Is it just me, or is May like the new December? It’s one of those crazy months where your schedule is packed-out like a Taylor Swift concert. Between baseball tournaments, ballet recitals, musical performances, awards banquets, field days, end-of-year parties and graduations, it’s hard to find time to breathe. Yes, these are joyful occasions; priceless moments for the memory book. I’ve cried at pretty much every single sweet event. But, the insanity of May-cember can tend to add a few extra gray hairs.

I think I’ve been ready for summer for about the whole month of May. I function so much better in the slower months of summer. If you know me, you know I am a slow human being. In fact, this is probably my husband’s least favorite thing about me. He is like the energizer bunny; I’ve grown accustomed to being 10 steps behind him in almost every situation. One could beg to differ that his impatience is a match for my slowness, (now, don’t you just know that God put us together to learn a little thing called tolerance?) but the older I get, the more I appreciate this trait. What’s wrong with stopping to smell the roses? And the gardenias, magnolias, lavender, honeysuckles…

I do enjoy life in the slow lane. Except when the world wants you to go fast. 

Which is what May is to me. Fast-paced and jam-packed and just plain emotional. Things are ending, beginning…changing. All of a sudden, Jack is done with Kindergarten. My baby girl is four. I started off the year pulling my hair out trying to potty train that iron-willed girl, and now she is so independent sometimes she forgets to tell me she’s pooped. And don’t you know, parents of young children, you are nosy about their poops.

Today was the day my May-cember wave finally crested. We had Jack’s field day and end-of-the-year party today, which was actually really fun. I do love participating in all that fun stuff. As a former teacher, I do miss that fun, crazy time with the kiddos. But 5 hours in the blazing, humid Georgia sun with screaming children and a tear-jerking Kindergarten slide-show is just about enough to do you in. We headed home with strict orders for everyone to rest. Until, a friend invites us to the pool. How nice does the pool sound on this 88 degree day? Maybe just for a quick swim? But don’t forget, quick is not in my vocabulary.

After that 2 1/2 hour shin-dig, I remember that I have to eventually feed my children, so we hike home, sun-baked, chlorinated and low on fuel. Allie is whining because she’s scraped her toe in the pool, so we are moving at a snail’s pace (that mind you, is too slow even for me) and she is begging me to carry her, at which I look at her like she’s crazy since I have two bags and three pool noodles in my arms already. But how sweet that our kids think we are super heros like that.

We make it home, and knowing I have to focus my ADHD brain on dinner prep, I stick an iPad in front of the kids and try to proceed. Allie’s iPad, however, is having connection issues and she’s asking for help and again, I give her a crazy look since I have two raw chicken breasts in my hands and clearly I am in no position to put my fingers on an electronic device. “Go find your dad” is my solution. Off she goes.

I really wish I liked cooking. I actually don’t mind it when I can do it slowly, without distractions. Which I haven’t had in about 7 years.  But the whole following-directions and timing thing is a bit overwhelming for me, and my husband knows I turn into a crazy person and it’s best to leave mommy alone during the meal-making window. But alas, the kids are still needy and hungry, the trash is overflowing, and I have made the mistake of not pouring a glass of wine before the maddening dinner creating. I’m sunburned, tired, hungry and irritated. If I hear “mommy” one more time, I just might crack. You win, May-cember. 

Then I remember my meds. I am weaning off of my anti-depressant (with the hopes to try something new) and clearly this has not helped my current mood. Switching/weaning medications has never been a smooth process for me. There are withdrawl symptoms involved and when you have anxiety, these symptoms can throw you into a panic. I am more experienced and educated in what to expect, so I have learned to give myself plenty of grace during this process, but it’s still no picnic. I have actually been feeling okay, and my short temper this evening could simply be from the day’s events, but it’s worth a thought. Luckily, I remembered to brief my husband of this change so he could brace himself for whatever version of his wife was about to emerge. That sweet man, who is clearly scared by my tone of voice by now, offers to put the kids to bed. How fast can I pour my wine and hop in the bubble bath? No slowing down there.

Now I’m clean, cozy and horizontal. My sweet children are tucked in and dreaming. Things have finally slowed down. But I wouldn’t appreciate this moment so much had the day been any different. It was exhausting and crazy, but it was my crazy. We made memories and said good-byes and laughed and cried. We pouted and whined and kissed and hugged and said good night. Today was a good day.

“Today is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” – Psalms 118:24

One of Jack’s teachers showed us a clip of her son graduating high school today:

“Don’t blink, parents!” she exclaimed.

And then I sat and cried through that sweet slideshow of my baby boy.

We can’t slow down our days. Time marches on and change will inevitably come. We can try to enjoy the present as much as possible, even when it irritates us to no end. One day we will look up and the world will be different. We will wish we could go back and just slow down. Savor every sweet moment.  That last wave of May will crash onto the shores of summer and slowly disappear, soaking in each little memory. I hope you welcome summer and its promise of slowing down. As for me, I was made for summer. But inevitably, the waves of life will come again. How I choose to ride them, however, that is up to me.