Earlier in August my three writing group cohorts and I went on a grand adventure to The City. (By the way, how much do I hate that…as if NYC is the ONLY city. Ugh.) We packed up our laptops, book ideas, hopes and dreams and attended the Writer’s Digest Conference – also known as The Conference. You are pretty much declaring yourself a writer when you go to writing conferences – that alone is very liberating. It is not often an opportunity presents itself to drop everything we carry everyday and focus on something 100% yours. Being able to kiss your husband and hug your kids and run away for 5 days is like being given a pass from real life. Sure I had my three BFFs to keep calling me Sassy, but to everyone else I was just a name on a sticky tag with a story to tell.
Isn’t it great when we can find the time and space to breathe and just be?
As I watched my two teens this summer, I realized how much they needed to feel the same thing. They needed time spent at camp or on the tennis court teaching little kids. They needed to watch Netflix under the covers for a whole afternoon or to play 8 hours of NBA something on some gaming system. Walks on the Greenway to catch Pokemon or ice cream every night at DQ filled their young souls to the brim. They had time to BE.
The complete and utter smack in the face of re-entry (for us AND them) is brutal! After NYC my gal pals and I recorded via group text every single thing that made our re-entry to life a total sh** show. A few excerpts…
“…turned off the alarm and overslept….lovely husband looked at me and said ‘Wow. You look….young’”
“Not going well here either….House looks like raccoons took over. Floors are literally covered in syrup”
“My dog literally looked me in the face and then pissed on the rug in front of me!!!!”
“…waiting on the slew of boys who spent the night to come down and declare ‘Its’ BO TIME!’”
“…just drove 2 miles PAST my app’t on Independence because I am STILL ASLEEP”
“What is up with the syrup? It’s like they chugged it, bathed in it, and then threw some at the windows.”
“At least y’all have syrup. We don’t even have toilet paper.”
“What does it say when the best part of my day so far is relaxing at the car dealership…families suck.”
“I just found a pan of dirt in the refrigerator!”
“Does anyone else feel exhausted? My eyes are not working together.”
“In my bathtub…They used to be carrots I think….”
On this first week back to school, I can’t help but wonder how our kids will manage the stress of re-entry. Lives overloaded with homework, friends, sports, jobs and parents combined with the pressure of grades, SAT and ACT scores, playing time on the field, college applications and parents makes my anxiety shoot sky high. No wonder they seem a bit more remote and have an extra dose of teenage angst. Who can blame them? Like us, their re-entry is a sh** show, too.
This year I want to be more purposeful in the atmosphere I can give to these overworked and overly stressed kiddos when they come home at the end of a long day. Instead of launching into the task list I have mentally prepared for them all day long, maybe it is a crazy funny story about my day and something that happened. Or even a silly text with a ridiculous Bitmoji (with which I am in looooove) just saying that I hope they had a good day. Instead of “How was your day? How was the science test? How much HW do you have? Did you do the extra help session at lunch?” maybe I will just suggest some ice cream at DQ and pretend it is summer.
Maybe I simply won’t be here one afternoon a week and let them enjoy a little bit of peace and quiet alone….that could be a win win for everyone!