If you are like me, gentle MoB readers, this time of year holds a special place in your hearts and minds. May has arrived in all its glory. It is a time of fresh beginnings… warmer temperatures … and an unforgiving array of consecutive school field trips, endless recitals and mandatory year-end celebrations. In other words…
It is the season of parental hell.
You know you have officially entered this season when any of the following occurs:
- You are constantly writing checks to the school district for extremely low denominations to cover the cost of field trips to places where you have no desire to ever visit. This year our boys have trips to Gettysburg and South Jersey. Little know fact: Neither of which have a Starbucks within a 30 mile radius.
- You find yourself on a 2 hour bus ride with your child and 50 of his/her classmates, chaperoning said trips above. We still go on these trips for fear that our child is the one who gets sea sick in Jersey or shot in Gettysburg.
- You race in and out of Target several times each week for last minute items such as black dress pants, paper plates, water bottles, or anything that makes your child look like they are from the 1930’s. The note requesting these items will be found at the bottom of the pile on your desk crumpled in the child’s backpack on the last day of school. You will hear about these requirements off-handedly from other parents who ask how you are doing on the latest scavenger hunt to which you reply “What scavenger hunt?” And then they tell you that your child needs a purple t-shirt for the school show…which starts in 20 minutes.
- Members of the PTA are calling you at home asking if you will bake something for teacher appreciation day. Clearly they have gone through their list to see who hasn’t volunteered for anything this year. You can now redeem yourself by baking for 700 people.
- You are faced with scheduling choices resulting in ridiculous conversations with your spouse. So, if we pick the band recital over Hebrew school, will God be angry?
- Cereal for dinner is no longer a “special occasion.” “Yes, love of course you can have seconds of Reese’s Puffs.”
- You’ll tell anyone in the school auditorium who will listen that the Spring music recital would be so much better if it was open bar. Or BYOB. I’m easy.
- Your children complain about how busy they are and for once you actually agree with them. Still, Mommy would be happy to trade places with you because that trip to Gettysburg just put me back 3 days at work.
The season of hell is no more evident than when you look into the eyes of the parents of over achieving kids. By mid-month we have all literally become walking zombies, shuffling from rehearsals to performances to after parties staring blankly at one another – the reality of our situation unspeakable. We brought this on ourselves. We know.
And while we acknowledge our part in the insanity, somehow we still have hope that there is a rip chord out there to be pulled. From this hope comes some of our finer parenting moments. The other evening, Dave and I offered Chase $500 to quit Boy Scouts simply because we couldn’t keep up with the schedule. Needless to say it didn’t go as planned. Chase refused the money, exhibiting a level of integrity any scout master would certainly admire. However, our scout master will never hear that story because after our evil plan backfired, we had to pay Chase $50 bucks to keep it quiet. At that point, Noah offered to join scouts and quit for $250, an idea which, while enterprising, was ultimately rejected.
There is no rip chord, friends. The season of hell is something you have to ride out until it dumps you on your ass sometime in mid-June. Until then, I am going to try to enjoy the ride, recognizing that my biggest complaint in life is the fact that I have to watch my boys grow, achieve and have fun all month long. Tough gig. See y’all on the other side.