|This is what a week on Maui will do for you.|
Summer in the Ackerman household is Rancho Relaxo. Carl has about eight weeks when he’s not teaching, and though he works part of the time, he is home more than usual. Daniel stays home with Daddy while I work, we spend long weekends at the shore, we loll in Lake Ontario with the Ackermans. This summer, Carl and I spent 10 glorious days in Hawaii. In a lifetime of great summers, this was one of the best I've had.
And now it’s over.
End of summer is hard every year. We transition from Rancho Relaxo to Rancho Insane-o. Jumping back into the school year routine is a bitch slap. Carl wakes at 5:30, I follow by 6. Must get dog walked, everyone fed, dressed, with daily lunch and necessities in hand and out the door by 7:15. This requires organization during weekends and evenings – food must be bought, lunches packed, laundry done, etc. Which is all fine. I like our school year routine. In fact, by the end of summer, I crave the structure and routine of fall. I need time at home, dates with friends, quiet time to write. But these first few weeks are always an adjustment.
This year, Daniel began preschool. So into the regular transitional mix we added learning how the school works, what Daniel needs during the day, how to help him adjust to being there four full days a week, what drop-off and pickup will be like. When the first day was hard (as everyone said it would be), a torrent of second-guessing and fear overcame me: was I doing the right thing? Was I a selfish mom? Yes, we need my income, but shouldn’t our child’s well-being come first? Is there another situation that would be better, easier?
Day two was a lot better than day one. Daniel’s teacher told me how she had held him until he fell asleep at naptime, which told me everything I needed to know about how kind she was. I ran into an acquaintance who taught preschool for 25 years. She said, “Preschool teachers have a special love for the little ones who have separation trouble. He will feel that love.” I knew she was speaking the truth, and that God had sent her to tell me that. I reminded myself that I had done my due diligence. I hadn’t just willy-nilly signed Daniel up for this program. I had prayed, meditated, researched, visited, discussed. Now I had to give it a chance to work, knowing that usually it takes a week or two to adjust, and even though I’m uncomfortable now, the reward will be great if this new situation works for us.
I’ve intensified my self-care over the past two weeks: made time for a massage, rested more, attended church, fed myself well, bought a new pair of boots (one consolation of fall.)
Share your wisdom with me. What helps you (or your children) adjust to change? How do you take care of yourself when things are hard? I know that most of the country is in transition in these first weeks of September. How can we help each other survive Rancho Insane-o?