I’m not much of a sun worshiper, but I sure have missed it. If you’re like me when the sun comes out, you sit on the back porch in 50 degree weather for as long as your skin will handle it while the kids play outside and try not to get grossed out by bugs.
Alaskans are kind of big wimps about bugs. When I went to a church camp in Texas there was a cricket that chirped and I screamed while two locals stared at me. I was like, “Alaska is too cold, so there’s not a lot of bugs.” Then I walked away knowing my street cred just plummeted.
It’s in the same category as when you’re in 70 degree weather in Nevada and they tell you the swimming pool is closed for winter. What. Are you talking about. Am I right?! So I fully expect antsy Alaskans to go overboard with sunburns when summer starts to make an appearance.
I think every person in my life has gone somewhere warm this winter, while I’ve stayed home pretending not to cry every night. If we go to Hawaii during winter, someone might have to drag my sandy, clawing hands off of the beach. Just thinking about it makes me feel like I could use less mosquitoes and more mojitos. Especially this time of year where having a hayfield for a yard and a muddy spring time car stands out more than usual.
And of course, the end-of-school chaos that sneaks up on you. As a parent, you get phone calls, emails, and paperwork galore. Then you feel like you can’t forget any of it. My brain is so full that I’ll stand in front of the fruits and veggies at the store and feel like I really have to really commit to what I want. The kids always eat the good stuff, so I might have to hide the blackberries behind the milk and then try not to forget about it.
I’m pretty happy it’s grilling season too. I’m heavily considering switching to paper plates just to cut down on the pile of dishes. These are my simple, yet glamorous summer plans. Paper plates, hiding blackberries, and grilling. We’re almost there.
When the weather permits, the busy end-of-school festivities are fun. It’s a good a reminder that most of them can’t be done during the winter, so it’s necessary to have patience for jamming all the outdoor field trips together in May. I get to see what the kids have learned all year and there are always opportunities to help. One day I learned an important lesson in math. Both kids had two separate field trips on the same day. I took my son, then added two kids. That means three coats to zip up, three lunches to help with, and three carseats squished in the back of my mid-size SUV. I loved it. I earned my soccer mom badge.
Afterward, I dropped them off so I could join the other field trip. I missed most of it, but was happy to show up. I watched my nine year old daughter eat lunch with her friends, which isn’t extremely fun, and borderline creepy, but it was nice to be there for moral support. She likes the security blanket that I represent. I’m like a house plant. I’m improving her life by looking nice and being in a corner, yet if I tried to zip her coat or help her with lunch, she would stare at me until I slowly backed away.
Here’s the thing: These last few days of school, I’ve been trying to encourage my kids as much as possible and at the same time encourage myself. The “mom guilt” sneaks in around this time, because I want to help as much as I can, but it never seems like enough.
I came across a saying on the internet, “You can’t please everyone. You are not pizza.” I would have to agree. My priorities seem to pile up at the end of the school year. This isn’t new news for people in my wheelhouse. Balancing life doesn’t always come easy. It’s not about having pressure, stress, or about being high maintenance. It’s about taking care of what’s in front of you and doing your best to balance. So I take a daily inventory. Where do I need more time? What needs my immediate attention today? What areas do I need to put on hold?
Once I pull it together, everything is fine. Being a parent isn’t perfect. But we try, because we love our kids. No routine of homework, activities, or sunlight can compare to the truth that I’m just so excited to spend time with them this summer. Talk to me in August, though. It might be a different story.
Kasi McClure enjoys being a wife and mother of two in Kenai. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.