You fair-weather friend.
You bring your endless promises of lengthy goodness and shorter nights.
You smile your bounty of good food and island smells.
You remind me that I live in paradise.
But then you sneak in your underhanded jabs.
Your overgrown, dead-weight, yellow-jacket drones.
Your rat-blasted mosquitoes.
And your lies that you will last forever.
Your illusions that the horrible winter chill will never return.
That we will never wear sweaters again.
Truth be told, I’d never seen a summer like you.
(At least, not in Beautiful Meterogically-Unreliable British Columbia.)
Gone were Vancouverite’s genetic adaptation we like to call Sun-Induced Panic.
Rants of rain in July were nowhere to be found.
We got so used to the good weather we started to trust it.
Forget that we were not Southern California – and that rain was not optional.
It lulled me a bit.
I began to rest in the certainty of goodness.
I should know better.
For as all labour and delivery nurses will tell you, unless you have a surplus of vacation hours,
Summer’s last laugh is the ever-exploding birth rates at your local hospital.
People, please. Allow me a pause for a PSA of the birthing kind.
Not all of you must have babies in the summer.
I’m sure you all think it’s a great idea back in October and November. It’s cold out now, there’s nothing much to do, we were going to try anyways, and wouldn’t it be best for everyone’s schedule if we had a baby in July or August? Or, failing that, September?
I can give you your answer right now:
NO. IT WOULD NOT BE BEST FOR EVERYONE’S SCHEDULE.
In fact, I can tell you exactly who it would NOT be good for.
Your local, loyal, overly-protective, slightly-delirious mat nurse.
Those people you see laughing maniacally every day about 8 pm? Or, if they’re on nights, 8 am?
The ones wearing alien green scrubs? Or blue, or purple, or dark taupe, or the warmed over color of vomit, or whatever it is that your local hospital has provided for them to douse themselves in preparation for the bodily fluids threatening to cover them at any moment, either yours or your baby’s or, well, their own.
Because, contrary to popular belief,
Maternity is not the happiest place ever.
Don’t get me wrong: It’s beautiful. It’s the best, and hardest, and most challenging, most rewarding thing I have ever done – besides raise my own children.
When it goes well, it goes very, very well. There is no other feeling like helping a new life into the world – nestling it into its mother’s arms, take pictures for the new little grouping of three, or four, or five, or in Abbotsford, ten.
(Nope. Not judging. Just tired.)
Because when it doesn’t go well…
It goes very, very wrong.
That’s the only word that makes sense. It’s wrong to see good people struggle to have healthy babies. It’s wrong to have new life bathed in uncertainty. It’s just plain not right that we can’t expect perfection and ease in the welcoming of new little ones into this messed-up, but also incredibly beautiful world.
Confession: I’ve never been a clean person.
Anyone who has been to my house knows this.
I am friends with clean people.
They show me grace when they agree to come to my house, because, while I am by no means easy-going (seriously, stop laughing. I can hear you.) I am often too busy or too tired to care what my house looks like, at least to the point where I realize that I don’t actually employ a maid to read my mind and put things where I want them, and my pent up irritation at something else boils over to the point of
I call it my personal Big Bang Theory.
This developing theory measures how messy my house – or my life – must be in order for me to explode in Big Bang Proportions,
in which I make my house look
the way it should have in the beginning.
In other words, it is a furious force of change
in which I attempt to
Impose order on chaos.
Filter out redundancies, stupidities, and irrelevancies.
And if it feels like rolling a giant sleeping bear up the side of Whistler Mountain, I know its because I’m
Fighting the Law of Entropy
(as Wikipedia will tell you)
nature guides all things into a slowly descending state of disorder.
The Law of Entropy is curious, see. At least to scientists. And it both supports and challenges our history of origins in the most bizarre way. It supports the principle of death and decay; it challenges the theory that all we see around us exists because the untamed forces in the pre-existing universe’s matter combined together
to make everything
But I sometimes have a hard time with that piece,
at least when it comes to human soul evolution
- at least to this human’s soul evolution -
if an outside force doesn’t act on it, it just gets more chaotic.
And just like no mess in the history of the world has ever called a convention to say, hey, maybe lets clean ourselves up.
But rather collides with itself and says, hey, aren’t I great? I should make more of me.
(And it does.)
So it is with personal growth.
Because, if I’ve learned anything about soul change, it’s that it doesn’t usually begin with an internal prompt.
Oh, maybe that little wise voice is there – our inner angel, perhaps, or a spiritual guide, if that’s something you believe in – gently suggesting the higher path to take or the rougher edge to smooth.
But if you’re anything like me, it takes the external force of a hurricane
- or maybe the horrific thud of a collision -
to make me actually listen.
If I can get away with not listening, I will.
If my current course of action does not seem to be directly harming anyone or anything, especially if it seems not to be harming me, then I see no need to change it.
Some people Most of us have to learn the hard way.
The sludgy, stenchy, convulsion-inducing, painful way.
Most of us need our comfortably traveling vehicle to come to a sudden stop for us to realize we are headed in a wrong direction or have a part or two missing.
Sometimes its just that we’ve relied on one thing for too long.
And so we crash, headlong into
But the initial hit is usually external.
And it’s fortunate, really, because
Anything left to itself for too long gets worse.
Parents of toddlers know this.
Long periods of silence are rarely a sign of peace.
Short periods, maybe.
But long periods of ease usually end in disaster.
So, summer, I love you.
You’ve been wonderful.
You’ve changed our lives with your blissful kisses of sunshine.
You’ve left your marks of joy and bubbles of laughter around sunset campfires in the company of those we love the most.
But its good that all good things come to an end.
Because anything left to itself for too long gets worse.
And it’s time we embraced that.
while my inner child is screaming that summer is over
my grown up is so, so relieved
that the season of change is here.
Because while we live in the Law of Uncertainty that is the British Columbia School System,
this home school momma
is so thankful
for that external force
so many years ago
that threw me off my path toward the last thing I wanted to do.
I’m thankful my family and friends pushed me to the point of decision.
I’m thankful my life circumstances made it clear that this was the path for our family.
I’m thankful for the pain that made me listen.
And while homeschooling is in no means the best or the perfect education option for every or even any family,
the chaos I watch around me right now
reminds me in the moments I’m tempted to whine that I have to start school tomorrow,
to instead be thankful
that I can start school tomorrow,
that I get to spend this much time with my girls
while they still want me to.
So, friends -
No matter what tomorrow holds for you,
I urge you to wake up thankful for whatever apparent life-derailment led you to the chaos of this morning,
for the uncertainty that perhaps allows some of you an extended summer,
more time with your kids,
more time to figure things out,
a push to be creative with your usual modas operandi.
I say this as one
who knows exactly how frustrating
(and in this house, frequent)
those moments are.
(It’s all we’ve lived these last six years, really.)
And while the pain of loss and uncertainty may not be good by itself,
its smoothing results on a restless soul are priceless.
If we each embrace our own crises for the bends in the roads they were meant to be,
we might all come out of this week more ready
to be that external force of change
the world so desperately needs
in order to get better.
Home school moms: Don’t believe that inner devil. You can do this.
Private school moms: Good on you for recognizing where your kids needed to be and making the sacrifices to get them there.
Public school moms: You’re doing the right thing. You are the plumbline of the new generation. You are the warriors of our children. You are champions for change. You are the ones who insist that all our kids can grow up, get better, be more, and find success.
Teachers: You know what you sacrifice for your kids. Most of us with half a brain know too. Breathe in. Breathe deep. No truly great work is ever easy.
To all of you:
You are amazing, beautiful people.
Your children – at home and at school – desperately need you in whatever capacity you feel called and able to give.
You are not alone,
Which is a good thing.
Because we know
All things left alone for too long only get worse.