Oh, Mother-of-Pearl! How I could use a vacation from the month of May. It’s only May 4, and already I’m frazzled to the bone. The sports! The spring programs! The end-of-the-year teacher appreciation initiatives! (To be honest, I appreciate you teachers all very much from September through April. By May, I don’t have the adrenal space left for bouncy emotions such as appreciation.)
I always think May’s going to okay, that I’ve hyperbolized the May Cray-zies in my mind. It’s not really so bad. Except, it is bad. There’s just way too much going on.
Consider tomorrow night: The middle child, 13, has to be a track meet across town at 4 p.m. This will continue on for hours. Due to great love for this child, I don’t mind spending hours watching gangly young teenagers running and jumping and hurdling. If only that were the only thing happening. But you see, in May, things happen all at once, like a three-ring circus taking place in three different physical sites.
While I am across town, being Track Mom, my eldest, 16, shall be whacking his peers with sticks in the great game of Lacrosse, a game I like but can’t completely comprehend. (It’s not played on ice, so therefore I really don’t get it.) Also across town: My youngest, 9, will have to be transported to soccer practice, which means her cleats and shin pads will have to be located first. Do I know who is transporting this child yet? No.
We know people who won’t allow their children to ride in cars with drivers other than themselves. Meanwhile, at this point, I am ready to beg almost anyone marginally suitable to drive my child to her practice.
“So, hey, you have your license and all, right? Okay, super! This one here has to be at Jaycee Park at 6:30. You can Mapquest it. Don’t forget a water bottle. Great to see you again after all these years!”
(Note to self: Why are my offspring athletically inclined? Why can’t they be content, as I was, to fear flying sporty orbs of all kinds? Why couldn’t they have inherited my mediocre coordination, agility, strength and speed?)
Normally, I’m proud of them in their adorable, sweaty glory, but this wanes somewhat in May, when the calendar clogs up like garbage disposal with watermelon rinds in it. I become even “less linear” than usual. By less linear, I mean downright confused, baffled and mystified by the endless stampede of events at which I am supposed to offer my maternal support.
- Ezra’s supposed to be where at what time? And he needs to keep track of his PAPER NUMBER (Someone check the recycling bin.)
- We are supposed to bring drinks for Phoebe’s soccer game? (What—there’s no water fountain at this facility????)
- Jonah’s lacrosse game time has been moved up an hour?
Nooo, nooooo, noooooo.
Dear Lacrosse Powers: Please don’t ever move game times on the fly, as your young stick-whackers’ parents have orchestrated schedules down to the very last minute. Please don’t do this, or I will have to come and whack you with a stick.
Last year, I remember we had five events in one evening. Three sports practices, a Spring orchestra program, and some kind of student art exhibition. Oh, and one of our favorite teachers was being honored at a reception to mark her retirement. There was no way we could have made that worthy occasion with any sort of coherence in our beings, so we sent our regrets. Was there also a mother-daughter book club? I can’t remember. I don’t believe I was breathing in a fashion which would deliver sufficient oxygen to the brain.
What I do remember is that, the violin player announced he did not have the correct pants for the concert, which was beginning in one hour. I dashed to the closest store and bought the wrong size and the wrong color pants (in my state of overload, I got the older boy’s mandated orchestra pants color mixed up with the younger boy’s mandated orchestra pants color. To my credit, I had been told the wrong waist size.)
As I was frantically buying the wrong pants, the right pants had been discovered at home, where they had been all along. As I was chugging across the parking lot of Meijer, clutching my bounty and panting, the family was at home, suited up in mandated colors and having a bit of a rest before the concert. Ah, but it’s time to go. Where is our dear mother?
She was screeching across 28th street, like a bat out of a dark place, speeding home so her child could don his pants and get to the show on time.
Upon arrival, and being told that the correct pants had been found, after all, I burst into tears.
My husband spoke to me soothingly, as one might an orangutan on the loose from the zoo.
“It’s okay,” he said. “Jonah can wear the pants you bought another time.” (This was not the pick-me-up he intended it to be.)
One year later, here we are in the month of May. So far, we haven’t had any 5-in-1 evenings yet, although we do have a three-fer tomorrow night, as I mentioned.
I’m once again confused, and borderline incoherent, roaming around the house muttering things like “dark pants or khaki pants? Cleats! Track number? Drinks for soccer, fruit for which team now?”
This is why Mother’s Day hits mid-May, so we moms can receive an infusion of gratitude and approval to fuel our tanks until that last soccer game, track meet, and end-of-the-year program.
Still, even though May can feel like atoms racing between poles, unable to rest in any one place, I know how lucky I am to have three fantastic children for whom to zigzag around town, toting the wrong pants and other items. (By the way, he has NEVER worn those pants.)
In two years, the lacrosse player will be playing his last games; in three, he’ll be gone altogether.
In five years, I will be freezing/broiling/dripping wet at the hurdler’s last track meets; in six, he’ll be gone altogether.
In nine years, I will be transporting my soccer player (if she lets me) to be fitted for her cap and gown.
And in ten years? In ten years I’ll probably be bored with all the empty slots in my schedule, bored, and a bit wistful.
They say the days are long, but the years are short.
So even though some May days I feel like I’m a good sneeze away from a mental breakdown, I want to remember why I’m running around like a crazy chicken.
It’s for them. It’s for love.
Happy Mother’s Day, then, to me and to every mom who has ever dug through the recycling bin for her child’s lost track and field number!
Let’s hear from you! What gives you the Mom May Cray-Zies? How do you cope?