Thursday, August 02, 2007

Summer days

My best friend and I still sometimes like to joke about the time when, on our last day of summer vacation before my junior year of high school, I spent half the afternoon crying my eyes out on the floor of the living room in my parents house because summer was over and, woefully, I had just reached the conclusion that I hadn't done a single noteworthy thing in that entire three month span. I woke up one morning with that whole promising vacation stretching out before me into a vast unknown, and then suddenly, school is starting the very next day! What on earth was I to do? "Why don't you go see a movie?" my mom helpfully suggested.

"Nooo," I wailed, as she and my friend exchanged wondering glances behind barely suppressed laughter. "Summer is over! And I didn't DO anything!"

Oh, brother. So melodramatic, I'm able to admit now. And lately I've found myself gripped by that same sense of urgency, a panic of sorts that the last blazing embers of summer will slowly die out and I'll be left without even the vaguest recollection of it's warmth. Obviously, a simple glimpse back through my blog archives will prove to me how much we as a family really have done and accomplished over the summer, but nevertheless, I've been trying these past two weeks to hold off the inevitable winds of change, packing as much as I can into these final weeks of freedom before embarking upon an entirely new trail of uncharted--and frankly, quite terrifying-- territory.

I think I'm ready for school to start. On the surface, anyway. Our final curriculum order was delivered today, the schoolroom shelves are supplied with an intoxicatingly fragrant collection of brand new wooden pencils, brightly colored rubber erasers, crisp pocket folders, reams of lined paper, and books, books, books. (Please, somebody tell me I'm not the only one who loves the smell of brand new school supplies.) But honestly: when I think about actually having to pull it all together day after day after day...I am scared senseless. Suddenly, all my careful planning doesn't matter one whit, because I am clearly just not up to the task of bearing the entire weight of the enormous responsibility I carry on my shoulders as the primary educator of my children. Why did I think I could do this?! (Actually, these brief moments of self derision are thankfully few and far between, but gaining frequency as the "Big Day" rapidly approaches.)

So I'm employing the best tactic I know of to keep from going too crazy; namely, distraction. Not only does it keep my mind occupied in the now, but it also helps to ensure that there will be no question in the days ahead as to what we "did" this summer. It's been quite pleasantly overcast here these past couple of weeks, so the kids and I have been playing out in the yard more. I took them swimming at my brother's house recently, and was quite proud of myself for managing all three kids without Darren. We went to a cookout at my grandparents house, enjoying the company of many aunts, uncles, and cousins seen too infrequently. I read Harry Potter AND Mom to Mom, Day to Day. I loved them both. I've been a cleaning fiend, attacking nightstand drawers and bathroom cabinets with a fervor usually reserved for either a new baby or expected company; in this case, neither...just an overwhelming desire to have all things "perfect" by the time we start our school year.

Today was particularly lovely. Heavy thunderstorms lingered for much of the day, providing the perfect ambiance for some simple baking. We made two loaves of zucchini bread with squash from our garden, and, while I didn't place too much hope in actually attaining edible treats (having seriously deviated from the recipe when I realized I didn't have exactly the right ingredients, after all), I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were really quite... well, delicious. Yay! We also made a second batch of Puppy Chow this afternoon, which Matilda linked to in a recent post. This stuff is so good. Seriously, you have to try it! (We made some for the first time last night, after dinner, but it was long gone by mid-morning today.)

I had the opportunity to head out in the rain with my camera while the kids were eating lunch. It was beautiful, so fresh and clean and cool and invigorating. I'll close with one of my favorite photos from today. We're leaving for a weekend trip tomorrow when Darren gets home from work, and I am so excited! We'll be visiting not only my brother's family (!!!), but also my cousin and her two daughters, who will be in town for the weekend. Great times await us! I'm so eager to get going. When we get back, I'll have to seriously map out the coming weeks and months. Here's my chance for one last summer bash; crying on the floor at this age just wouldn't be dignified!


Cheryl said...

I read the same two books this summer and I enjoyed them too. I have some of the same fears about homeschooling as you. I am looking forward to it, but I know that it never goes as I plan. I hope I can be flexible and enjoy it, rather than get frustrated. Have a great trip!

Crafty Mom said...

You'll do great. I homeschooled Katie last year, and I still have the jitters over this impending year. It is almost as if we are the ones going back to school.

I can't wait to see your posts over the year, and what you have come up with for your kids.

Just keep reminding yourself one day at a time. It is hard work, but well worth it.

mom-in-training said...

I have had the same feelings lately and am trying hard not to just sit down and cry it out, though I agree, that would be quite undignified. :) But I do worry I'll regret having not done more this summer, and I am especially nervous about homeschooling. I still feel completely unprepared, though I have everything I need curriculum wise (still need to map everything out). You are not alone in your anxieties. I'm sure despite our worries, we'll both do fine. I definitely feel this about you because from what I've seen on your blog, you are the perfect homeschooler!!!

Matilda said...

I totally sympathize with this post and I have been homeschooling for a few years now. Where did the time go?

Glad you liked the Puppy Chow. My mom made it for us when we were kids. I loved freaking my friends out by offering them some Puppy Chow! But once they tried it, they were hooked.

Celeste said...

I feel the same way! Summer is almost gone! And we spent the majority of July sick and the rest of the time it has rained! Oh, well. We have a fmaily trip coming up and a fun homeschooling conference with friends. I am actually so looking forward to school. I'm pretty excited about the curriculum.

Take it one day at a time, one lesson at a time. Don't worry too much about perfectly laid out plans, they will change. Be flexible and be fun!

Have a super weekend!

Jill said...

Melissa- I just love your posts. Whether you are feeling stressed or not, your posts are always so reflective and the way you write makes me feel really relaxed for some reason! What a gorgeous picture of the rose.
And I have to say that I totally agree with you about school supplies- love the smell! ;)

He who wears the most black wins. said...

Have a great weekend, sweet friend!

This upcoming school year is going to be great-for you AND for Dylan. We'll be keeping you in our prayers and looking forward to many wonderful posts about how it's going!!

Love you!

Jill said...

I just had to comment on Matilda's comment about freaking her friends out with the 'Puppy Chow.' The first time I tasted it was when my aunt made it for us, and served it in little dog dishes! Talk about freak out. But, YUM!! Glad I tried it.

Kristen Laurence said...

Melissa, as you are one year ahead of me in the homeschooling department, I'll be watching you closely this year! I too am excited and terrified at the same time. But I can see you will do a wonderful job - you've already done so without a curriculum!

Muddy Mama said...

I can so relate. Summer seems to be flying by and the school year looms ahead. I never feel "ready".

The one thing that keeps me from hiding under the covers, (besides the heat!) is the belief that God has called me to this job of schooling my children and He will help me when I am seeking to do His will.

It also helps to remember how my kids' eyes light up when theylearn something new. I love being there for that.

Jane Ramsey said...

I'll be right there with you this year, Melissa! We'll both learn as we go.