I've decided, Thomas Dekker must not have had children when he composed the poem, The Merry Month of May. Or, rather it's likely, in 1599, when the poem was first brought to life, on stage, in his play The Shoemaker's Holiday, May really was a merry month. Much like we hear in some of our favorite old Christmas songs...
"Chestnuts roasting on an open fire; Jack Frost nipping at your nose; Yuletide carols being sung by a choir; And folks dressed up like Eskimos"
...if you're like me, I love the sentiment, but have a really hard time being able to empathize with the quaint feeling of watching chestnuts and hearing carols, in the "merry month" of December. Don't get me wrong, a smile is rarely not seen on my face, during that "most wonderful time of the year", but there's not a lot of sitting and taking it all in, until the whirlwind of December 25th has subsided.
But, back to May and Thomas Dekker. History books don't give us much background on his famous poem, but a quick glance at the text, and I can guarantee 'ol Thomas wasn't spinning in a vortex of school field trips, final exams, awards assemblies, field days, and whiny, over-this-school-year children. Sure, May is a beautiful month to marry. Just ask our new American Princess! But, having school-aged kiddos can make this month feel like a really sick joke, with yourself as the punchline.
As I write this post, I'm battling almost a week-long sinus cold. You can call it a too-quick change from spring to summer, here in Texas, or a 22-month-old consistently coughing and snot-dripping in your face...regardless, I'm over the thing. There's only so much Vicks VapoRub and cough drops a mama can take before she opts for a vanilla shake for lunch - which is my current situation. I don't have the world's best pain tolerance, by any stretch, but I can soldier a stupid chest cold....until about day 6. There are probably only three things I can do for six days straight and coughing until my head bursts is not one of them.
As perfect storms usually have it, I didn't get this junk in the "easier month of February". No, I got it smack-dab in the middle of the week where I taught six Pure Truth classes, hosted a dinner, my husband was gone more than usual, and I'm working towards running a race, with my sister, at the end of the month. Factoring in the state my body and mind were already in, I just multiplied the intensity and longevity of this thing, without even thinking about it. Completely unintentional, I have made it more difficult for my body to fight the demands on my mind. And, now, I'm having to reap the consequences.
No, this isn't a post of self-pity or self-deprecation. I simply found it ironic to be plowing through this crazy month - reminding myself of peace and delight, alongside almost every friend I have, wading the deep waters of bringing this school year to a close - yet, literally brought face-down with a common sickness, faced with the choice to choose that peace and choose that delight, even when the room is spinning all around you.
I think, we, as parents, forget that reminders of gratitude, simplifying, and enjoyment of the little things doesn't have to come as a result of a tragedy. For me to list all of my excuses for yelling at my kids or losing patience over their child-like behavior is futile. We are all busy. We all get chest colds. We are all exhausted. And, as forgiving as my kiddos have been, this past week, to their wacko mom, is to be more than commended, but there comes a point where saying "I'm sorry" needs to be met with an extreme change of behavior.
Where do you find yourself, this month?
I truly hope it's championing this merry month with the excitement that comes, being able to celebrate your child's successes, first and second tries, being commended for academics, athletics, creative arts, and most of all, character. Giving parties, high-fives, hugs, and "atta-boys", until your mouth hurts from the laughter. Running from ceremony to ceremony, field trip to field day, with more energy than you had when you were 16.
But, if you find yourself a little slower. Taking breaks between cleaning toilets - for that graduation party at your house - and deciding whether it's been one or two weeks since you've washed your hair....you're not alone. And, you're still a great parent. You still have everything you need to wrap that kid in your arms and remind them, you will never be more proud of them, than you are, right at this moment.
Merry on, dear friends. I can smell summer's slower mornings, just around the corner.