It feels odd to admit this – for summer feels like one of those universally adored topics like bubble gum or Santa Claus- but only a small part of me is looking forward to the end of my kids’ school year this week.
Yes, I am a dreading summer a little.
The approaching changes to my daily routine, curtailed individual time and travel that feels more overwhelming than relaxing right now, all weigh on me. I am about to enter a stretch where I have less control over my time, my routine and even exercise schedule. I am not a willing participant in what’s happening right now.
How can I meet myself where I am without resisting the inevitable? A conversation with a friend brought ideas.
“I don’t know what’s happening in the Universe right now, but things feel thick,” a friend said to me recently while mingling amongst fellow families at an end-of-the-school year bash. “I am not ready for summer. Are you?”
My head shook vigorously, fueled by relief that I was not the only mother resisting this change.
Surrounded by a sea of upbeat children (actually excited for the start of summer), we shared how unwilling to step into the transition we were on the cusp of experiencing.
“Along with the mom guilt I have, I also know my attitude could be better. I can’t force myself to be positive and that’s what’s frustrating me,” I shared. She nodded in understanding.
“I know I can change my experience of what’s happening with different thoughts and a can-do attitude – but I don’t want to,” I admitted.
I wanted to be exactly where I was. The pressure to usher in different feeling wasn’t motivating. I was grumpy about summer, as immature and even privileged as it was.
“Sometimes there’s no avoiding the muck. You have to just ride through it,” she added over the pitch of children’s squeals.
I agreed. Yet I couldn’t get myself on that acceptance ride just yet. Neither of us had the solution, but we felt comforted by being in each other’s company. I walked away to my next conversation in deep relief that I wasn’t a bad person for feeling the way I did. I gained comfort and even confidence from this friend, who I adored and respected. If she was in the same boat, it was ok for me to be.
Sometimes, that’s what the moment needs: acceptance and time. Letting yourself have the feelings you have, no matter how irrational, petty or privileged they may be. That’s the space I have been in for many days. I know I will eventually ‘get on board.’ I know I will come to miss summer and the adventures that transpire. Even though I know I could make shifts now, even see angles where I could be grateful and gain benefits from the summer, I am letting myself be. Exactly as I am.
And that seems to be working.
Interestingly, after that conversation and many days of just being resistant, small shifts are begin to happen. First, one child ended his school year before the rest. So, I dipped my first toe in to the pool of summer. I began gently reorganizing my days for later start times without changing much else. Start with gentle transitions.
I learned that my son was now old enough to come with me to the gym. Sure, we couldn’t do my favorite spin class together, but we could swim or hit the weight room. It wouldn’t be the same as working out alone – but it was something. Be open to new possibilities.
Finally, this week, my other two kids will end their academic years. When it arrives, I feel more confident I will be ready to embrace it. Fortunately, they kick off summer with a special trip with their dad, giving me a few days to check must-dos off my list and get organized for the months ahead. In doing so, I know I will more easily greet them in the present moment. In letting myself have my time within this process, I can now move more authentically in flow with myself and the moment, even if its slow Take your time.
Wishing you a happy summer. Or not.
Whatever you choose is good by me. xx SJ