Nobody told me it would feel this way. No one warned me about this. (well, maybe they did, but not sure I was listening...)
Sure, I've seen all the teary-eyed mommies waving goodbye to their kindergarteners on the first day of school, but it seems like it doesn't take them long before they've got their head in the game again. They're texting on their phones in the pick-up lane after school. They're settling into the routine of the year just fine.
Everyone posed school as "it'll be SO great when she's in school! You'll finally have some time to get things done," to which I would longingly dream of the day... oh, if only school would get here faster...
But now that I'm here, many days I'm feeling like I'm in constant tailspin. Maybe it wasn't all it was cracked up to be.
(I guess it's similar to how we tell singles "oh, it'll be so much better when you're MARRIED! You won't struggle with loneliness or anything anymore!" Umm, why do we lie like that? Who is going to be honest with them, that marriage, though it is AWESOME, is very difficult and hard work, too? Aren't we setting them up for some major disappointment in life when their expectations are false and unrealistic? Just a side note, from working with college students, I guess...)
I suppose I don't see those other moms crying alone on their beds at night, (do they?) or hear their conversations with their closest friends. And it's not like anyone's going to post their own loneliness issues on facebook.
So I'm just going to go with the assumption that I'm still not the only one struggling with this adjustment to school.
Three weeks in, and school is great, don't get me wrong. I'm FLOORED at the things Caroline is learning each day-- her colors in Latin and the history of Western civilization with hand motions, to name a few. Her school and her teacher are beyond impressive, and we couldn't be more thrilled about where she is and how much she is flourishing there.
Every day she gets in the car and has so much to tell me (mostly with me asking 50 questions, of course). What new friend she made, what her music teacher did to make the class laugh, how she got a "Resting Rooster" award for being still at naptime, what new phonograms she learned or what new game they played on the playground, who she sat with at lunch, or what she learned.
My heart rejoices to hear how she's growing, learning, thriving.
But that's not what I get to see. What I see most often is an exhausted, hungry little girl who has worked hard behaving herself enough all day. One who comes home and struggles with her tone, her choice of words, her lack of sleep (no, she's not sleeping at nap-time), and her lack of time to just PLAY.
I know she needs a soft place to fall. I feel the same way. But there's just not the TIME.
This school-thing is so TIME-demanding. I know it's typical for working adults to be up everyday at 6:30am, and no one ever complains about it, but our household is just not adjusting to it well AT ALL.
Due to our jobs as a campus minister and a part-time worship director, we've got things going on many evenings. How does this fit in to our new schedule where we are a constant state of exhausted mess, I wonder? Jameson is the only one getting all the sleep. (just not at the same time WE'D like to get sleep...ahem...)
Caroline and I went from sixteen hours a day together to FOUR.
Four hours a day.
And boy, those are quite the intense four little hours. Even those hours are determined by the school schedule and demands-- washing the lunchbox, getting dinner ready, eating dinner, cleaning up from dinner, getting showered and ready for bed so we can do it all over again tomorrow...
I'm feeling locked-in. Like I'm on this train that we can't get off, and there's no end in sight. A train that goes for twelve more years?! What happened to the days where we could just take a long weekend to see family, or plan a trip just because we needed one? We're not able to go like we used to. This train has a few little stops here and there, but even then, it's still dictating the when and where of our life.
I'm feeling acutely this loss of freedom, the loss of family (Marc's parents, who are our closest family, are not able to visit due to his father's severe dementia), the loss of time, and generally the loss of connection.
Oh, and all my jeans don't fit, either.
I'm ready to jump off this train, and I can't.
How long does it take until I will "enjoy the ride?"