Some days -- like today when my three-year-old flooded the bathroom sink, my five-year-old melted down over a missing Barbie shoe, and my eight-year old launched into a lengthy, resolve-draining whine about watching TV (all before nine thirty in the morning) -- I long for the structure that the school year will bring. We need some structure here.
Other days, I feel like the end of summer is a death of freedom. Our schedules will fill up. With the start of the semester next week, Joel and I will revert to our balancing act: tag-team parenting with one of us at home while the other is on campus. There won't be lazy mornings when it's no big deal if I don't shower before noon. My late nights will be filled with essay-grading, email-responding, and lecture-planning.
I want summer to linger for its freedom, yet I'm ready for it to be over. Whether they can articulate it or not, the kids seem to feel this way, too. We're all operating under a certain degree of meh, hovering on the cusp between two seasons, a bit tired of one and slightly wary of the next.
We attempt to make the most of the waiting period. I find myself filling the days with as many last-ditch summer activities that we can muster: a local baseball game, a trip to a nearby lake for an afternoon of swimming, a backyard fire to roast marshmallows.
When I begin to view the upcoming school year as an insurmountable mountain, I remind myself that what comes ahead will be paced just like summer has been paced: one day at a time.
Nothing that's ahead of us -- no amount of work, no hectic scheduling -- is more than we'll be able to handle. God, who's above time, will walk with us each step, just like He has done in the past.
It's possible to hold contrasting emotions at once: clinging to summer, wishing it away. The real test is to balance in the middle, finding the comfortable spot in the midst of the discomfort, and realizing that these days -- flooded bathroom sinks and all -- are good days, too.