This summer has been the opposite of simple.
For starters, all three kids have taken turns being horribly sick and missing all the fun classes we carefully chose for them. Nathan threw up at W*lmart twice, and last week Kara stayed overnight at the hospital for IV fluids and antibiotics.Yesterday was her first fever-free day in a week and a half, which means she's cleared to start kindergarten in a few hours (and will likely have started by the time you read this because apparently I can't not write blog posts at 2 am).
My day job continues to keep me on my toes, and I'm taking on freelance work to build our savings because God as my witness, our next Christmas will be the last one in this house. Luke is training for a marathon and climbing into double-digit mileage. I'm working on my book every now and then, two notebook pages in the morning here, scribbles on an index card there. I'm brainstorming a Lean In Circle for my area despite missing Sheryl Sandberg's keynote at BlogHer to be with Kara. In my head I see meetings, a blog and a podcast. I'm crazy to even consider it, except that I'm too inspired to sit back.
I volunteered for an extra shift of Sunday School at church this fall since Liam transitions from the nursey where I spend every third Sunday to the Twos room across the hall. They don't have enough teachers and I'll miss playing trucks with him, so every first Sunday I'll dole out Bible stories and fishie crackers to a handful of half-babies. Because of course Liam is still my baby.
Did I mention Kara starts kindergarten today?!
There was an open house at the start of the week and to say she was overwhelmed would be an understatement. My own heart was in my throat the entire time and I could barely make eye contact with other parents because I'm still not ready for this and please God let's save the ugly cry for the car. The scarf around my neck felt more like a noose as we walked through the halls of her school, hunting for the library, music room, cafeteria, gym.
She was still upset yesterday but in better spirits when I came home from work. She even drew a picture.
"I'm walking from the house to the bus!"
But how can she be walking when to me she looks like this?
Many of my hardships these last few months I brought upon myself: poor management of stress, ignoring limits and the like. But kindergarten has been a monumental weight on my shoulders that I haven't been able to shake because it just feels so final. A symbolic entrusting of Kara to the universe with the expectation that her gentle spirit will stay intact. That she won't be grabbed from a bus, tortured by a bully or shot in a classroom.
It also means some shaping up on my part, like managing my schedule more efficiently so that I'm present for things like homework checks and PTO meetings. Plus, I'm tired of burning the candle at both ends all the time. If I don't want my kids to buy into a culture of busyness, I can't, either.
The feelings I have about Kara going to school aren't unlike what I experienced when I returned to work after maternity leave, and that turned out okay, so I do know we'll be fine. I just can't believe we're here.
* Yes, another Brandi Carlile lyric. Thanks for playing!