Tuesday, May 03, 2011

The Big Slow Down is Nearly Here (and not a moment too soon)

T-minus 3 Weeks and Counting

I'm not sure exactly when it became apparent, but sometime this year I finally accepted the realization that we are overscheduled.

We are Far. Too. Busy.

And I'm tired.

Really. Really. Tired.

We used to go to a church where we heard Busy is Being Under Satan's Yoke, which, you know, is a bit too churchy-churchy barfy for me, but there is a ring of truth to that.

I think once the boys were home and their issues came out, sometimes it was just easier being Busy. Well, maybe not easier, but at least the busy was distraction. A distraction for me because somedays I was just too busy to know better. A distraction for the neuro-typical kids who needed a break from the crazy.

But I'm done with being Busy. I'd LOVE to be done with the crazy, but that's not likely for a spell. But instead of distracting ourselves with busy-ness, I want us to enjoy the life we have around the crazy, if that makes any sense.

When Hatfield and Atticus were little and we lived in a different neighborhood, we spent every night after dinner outside. We'd visit with neighbors while the kids played. We'd walk to the local park and visit with friends while the kids played. We'd walk to the local ice cream store, or coffee shop, or video store.

Nights were leisurely and we were never rushed for anything.

It was a simple time. It was one of our happier times.

Now, although we live in a different neighborhood, we live within walking distance of a park and soccer complex. 3 schools with cool playgrounds. A regional paved walking/biking trail.

We live within biking distance of 2 SUPER cool playgrounds. A frozen custard store. A video store. And my parents and their pool.

Do you know how many times last summer we biked for frozen custard? Or met friends to visit at the park while the kids played?

One measly time for each.

Soccer took up 4-5 nights a week. Dance took overlapped nights, and then took up afternoons. Day after day after day.

We'd come home, exhausted, with me counting the milliseconds until I could get the kids in bed.

This year, I started to dread the thought of summer. And fall.

Something's gotta give, I realized.

We decided to completely clear the calendar and start fresh.

Dance has been taking up far too much. Too much in terms of gas/travel. Too much money. Too much family time. Too much money.

With the kids in agreement, we are taking a year hiatus and will evaluate next summer.

We didn't sign up for soccer. This year I'd have 5 kids in 4 levels, 2 with same/conflicting times and locations. The kids love soccer. I was really hesitant to bring it up.

They surprised me. The little ones were the only kids who seemed game for it, but their season started last week and conflicts with dance, so it was a no-go. Hatfield and Atticus said they'd rather have their night's free.

"All the boys in the court (across the street) play kickball every night!" Atticus preferred. I LOVE the fact that there are 6 boys, all within 3 years of his age, just across the street.

Things that made the cut: Summer School and Fine Arts Day Camp. All activities which all 5 can do, at the same time, from 8:30 am to noon.

Did you catch that?

ALL FIVE KIDS.

8:30 to NOON.

For 6 weeks.

OH MY LORD IN HEAVEN!!! I am gonna have 4.5 hours each day ALL TO MYSELF!!! AND MY GARDENS!!! For SIX WEEKS!!!

That thought makes me shiver. SHIVER, I tell you!

But the key there is: it's just the morning. Afternoons are ours to swim, bike, lounge and play. No running. No rushing. No trying to stuff dinner in 5 bellies before we race to 4 hours of back-to-back soccer games.

The other thing that made the cut: Camp for Hatfield and Atticus. Like REAL Camp. On a lake with crafts and hikes and canoeing and fishing and archery and the mess hall and all the other cool stuff that camp has. Just like in The Parent Trap with Hayley Mills (okay, I'm romanticizing, I know, but Hatfield and I watched that on this weekend.) Sunday through Saturday. In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

I am ready for the Slow Down.

This weekend, I take Hatfield and Atticus to Chicago for a dance competition. Just the 3 of us, Friday through Sunday. They dance early Saturday through Saturday afternoon. Then, instead of going back late Saturday, we are going to have a fun night in the hotel. Take out. Swimming Pool. Hot tub. Sunday we're getting up, swimming one last time, and hitting Ikea so I can pick out a Mother's Day present I'm sure to love ;) I can't wait!

What's left after that? Just one more week of dance classes. Then the week of Recital Mania.

Then the Slow Down will start. I have my sigh of relief ready and waiting. I'm ready to be free.

Free to swim.
Free to walk to a park.
Free to bike to the local frozen custard stand.
Free to just be. Free to let the kids run around the yard with glo-sticks while we drink margaritas under the twinkle lights on the deck gazebo.

Free.


3 comments:

Sara said...

I so hear you on the being busy!!!

We have done exactly the same thing....no soccer, but are doing a "Create Your Own" gymnastics fun class, where I can take all 4 kids at the same time. They get to pick what they want to do, and the coach creates a fun little class!! Awesome. They will all be together. They are looking forward to it. I wanted something they all could do together, at the same time...since I'll have a little newborn baby with me.

We are so done with rushing, rushing, rushing.....yuck. Looking forward to fun relaxing summer, where we can do what we want, and go where we want...when we want.

My husband were just talking about all of this. Then it seems like there are always people who, find it their business, to ask, "Aren't your kids going to do soccer, horse riding lessons, T-ball, basketball, mini dance camps???"

Whatever. I can't wait until dance comes to a close, the recitals are done, and our summer begins. The girls love dance, but also like having off the summer from it too.

Oh, Ikea....you lucky duck!! We stopped there last week on our way home from Cleveland. LOVE Ikea!!!! Have fun!!

bbbunch said...

That's awesome, Sarah...best. summer. ever!

Can't wait for some bbq fun :)

Beck

Tara - SanitySrchr said...

Whoo hoo! I can come up with all kinds of stuff to NOT do in 4.5 hours of time each day! (Sleep would be my top priority.)