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Manic May(hem)

Well, it’s Monday and it’s May.

Not a good combination, if you ask me.

Why? Because I am absolutely, positively swamped. I’m so slammed with tasks and projects that my mind is starting to melt. 

My ‘to do’ list is long. Ridiculously long. With no end in sight.

This isn’t a typical Monday morning whinefest, so please hear me out.

I’m not complaining about those items I’ve taken on myself. I’m a big girl, and I can and will readily admit to deciding what I want to be responsible for. I have no problem saying no to any number of things if the timing is too difficult or the project just isn’t the right fit, but if I say yes, I do so willingly.

I also have no problem with the basics in life: making sure Son and Daughter are alive and well and cared for, ready to tackle their responsibilities (chiefly to get themselves to school and become better educated, with all that entails).

Oh, and I would add Husband to the mix. I want him alive and well, too.

I’m not even griping about the errands and chores around the house. Those necessary yet irritating tasks that we all wish we didn’t have to do.

I do get some help from my familial unit, but there’s no doubt that working at home puts you squarely in the crosshairs for soul-crushing things like laundry duty. As I remind everyone on a regular basis, there is no laundry fairy, no matter how plaintively I might pray for one.

Ditto for cooking dinner. Now before you start thinking we are old-fashioned in our allocation of various duties around the house, let me say that that is not the case.

Well, maybe a little, but some of it can easily be chalked up to sorting chores and tasks according to two critical levels: level of irritation and level of skill.

I end up doing a majority of the cooking because I have the skill. (Trust me, you don’t want Husband preparing your meals. He makes a mean scrambled egg, and of course he’s genetically predisposed to grilling meat on the barbeque, but let’s leave it at that.)

I usually like to cook, so I also have only a moderate level of irritation. Moderate mainly because you have to make dinner on a daily basis. Every. stinking. day.

The question that I loathe more than any other is ‘What are we having for dinner?’

Beats me. I usually figure that out thirty minutes before I have to start cooking, just in time for the Albert Heijn run.

Now I have two perfectly able-bodied teens in this household, capable of helping out in the dinner-making department.

I mean, come on, isn’t that part of the reason we have children, anyway? To help us do things we don’t like to have to do ourselves?

Oh please, don’t pretend I’m the only one who feels that way. One of the most gratifying things as a parent is being able to offload some irksome chore on your children, under that wonderful guise of ‘teaching you self-reliance and getting on in the world’.

Yeah, they don’t fall for it either.

No, what I’m particularly irritated about is the fact that it’s May.

Perfectly lovely month, sunshine and warmer weather. But just the name makes my blood run cold. Because I totally lose my free labor pool (namely, my teens).

May is the month in which much of the final testing takes place at school. Son has all of his various final exams this month, and Daughter has a couple as well (with the remainder in June). Then there are the papers to be written and school projects that must be completed.

After school activities start to wrap up, and the number of school-related celebrations begin to take place. (The latter usually result in a last-minute plea for the fruit salad or paper cups that one or the other volunteered to bring, but conveniently forgot to mention.)

School sports start to wind up the spring season, with a flurry of meets or games and the looming end-of-season tournaments. These events always need parent volunteers.

That’s how I ended up spending 6+ hours on a recent Saturday helping out at a track & field meet. Man, those meets are long. Wills and Kate got married and finished their post-marriage luncheon in less time than it takes to conduct a track meet with six schools participating.

Let’s not forget that in May, teacher appreciation activities start to pick up, with more requests for contributions of some sort (namely time, money, gift or food).

All worthwhile endeavors, except that they start to accumulate at this time of year. Just when you think you have everything planned for and penciled in, something else pops up.

Like a meerkat or gopher, but not as cute.

The sports, academic and activity recognition celebrations start to infiltrate the evenings, which requires even greater logistical planning since Son and Daughter are already bogged down with late-running practices and other niggling activities. Like homework and studying.

I’ve mentioned that my parents arrive next week for a three week visit. Yes I’m thrilled they’re coming, but let’s not kid ourselves that it doesn’t involve a little more work.

This year we add Son’s senior lunch/prom/dinner/graduation and assorted parties and other festivities to the mix. All wonderful events that help mark this major life milestone, but let’s be truthful: they also add more work to the pile, in one form or another.

Don’t get me wrong. I support Son and Daughter in all of these endeavors, which they do for a number of reasons. They learn a lot from (most of) them, and often enjoy them greatly.

And I will be the first to admit that when they have moved on to university and the working world, I know that a part of me will miss the opportunity to see them participate in some of these activities.

But forgive me for NOT being thrilled when Son’s wallet was stolen (or, more likely, lost). All I could see was the time and effort it would take to guide him through replacing key documents like his Dutch registration card, ATM debit card, school ID, and so on.

So when Daughter’s Dutch voetbal coach sent out an email last week informing us of three additional games no one was expecting, it just about put me over the edge.

I’m still there, teetering on the precipice, and I could go over at any time. Just the slightest push, and…

Did I mention how much I dislike the month of May??

[Image credit: Jscreationzs Portfolio 1152, freedigitalphotos.net]

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