This morning as I write I feel the most anxious I have felt in a while. With two hands clamped tightly about my heart, I struggled to get up and take my morning medicine along with the antihistamine prescribed for moments like these. Through shower, drinking water, and eating breakfast, the anxiety remains. But I must keep going; littles are here.
A couple of weeks ago, I warned the boys that I am a different mom than they left in January when they began brick-and-mortar schooling. They are also different. I’m not the mom who is barely hanging on. I’m not the mom who relies on videos and naps to get through the day. I’m not the mom on edge.
Then days like today crop up and it all feels too much. The difference is that the days don’t happen every day. It gives me a reserve that doesn’t feel too reserved at first.
When I say that summer curriculum is a thing, what I mean is this: I must plan to be active in the summer because my default is to retreat. It’s a survival mechanism as much as anything else. It gives me a pattern to follow so that on bad days I can get up and follow a map. Do one. Do two. Do three. Until you feel better or the day ends.
Already, today, I’m feeling a bit better. The antihistamine is doing its thing. The water, maybe, too. Perhaps writing this. A hug from a boy. The panic is diminishing rather than rising.
This is a big change for my boys. They are not yet acclimated. Yes, they saw me every day during the last semester but only before and after school.
Last night, Eldest said, “Don’t you get it? We just want to have a normal summer!”
I do get it. Now there are expectations and rules. There are places to go and things to do. There’s a system of points gained and lost that governs free time and screen time. Still, a big part of me wanted to reply, “Don’t you get it? That was never normal!” It was their normal, though. So I hugged him and saw him to bed at a reasonable hour and hoped he would find something today to fill his cup.
I don’t blame my people for thinking the bottom may fall out. They’ve been vigilant too long to give it up easily. Relapse is a real danger. It always will be. But today I am able. Today I have reserves and tools. Today we reinvent summer.