When we were in San Diego we went to the beach one afternoon after my son’s nap. We didn’t get there until 4pm, but we figured we’d have a good hour or two to play before it got too cold.
This beach is on a bay so there are no waves, and you look out on sail boats bobbing at their anchors, against the backdrop of a Air Force base complete with F-16s. It’s a nice spot if you have kids who are intimidated by the unrelenting waves of the Pacific.
While we were at the beach that afternoon the tide started to come in. Because of the shape of the sand bars and the nature of its location in the bay, the water collected in some areas before breaking into another miniature valley and rushing to fill it.
I found the rising water fascinating. You couldn’t see anything change when you looked at the bay, but on the beach, as the water pushed into every available space, there was no denying the encroachment. The geography of the beach was changing right in front of our eyes.
My school year started in earnest this Wednesday, but really it felt like it started on Monday, when I dropped my daughter off at her first day of second grade and then struggle to make it to a staff meeting on time. Since then every morning has been a series of angry out bursts and complaints from the kids as we try to shepherd them through their morning routing as gently and efficiently as possible, followed by a whirlwind of meetings and emails and attempts to prepare myself for a new year without a classroom, and teaching in a totally different way.
Throw in a doctor’s appointment, Back-to-School Night presentations, a PTA board meeting and the aftercare start of the year meeting and it’s been a super intense week.
September and October’s calendars don’t promise much respite. I spend about 10 minutes every day talking myself off that beach, where I feel the water rising all around me, and know I’m totally helpless to stop it. What if the current carried me away?
I know the start of the school year is always stressful, as the mother of a sensitive student and a teacher myself, but this feels like a whole other level of intense. I keep telling myself to take it one hour at a time, but each one of those hours can feel like an eternity. Changing rooms is so hard for me, I’m constantly forgetting important materials I need. Picking up both kids at 5pm is so exhausting when all I want to do is get home. Fighting with my daughter over new homework she can’t remember how to execute is incredibly frustrating. Watching a friend change schools and knowing I won’t have her mom’s help on PTA this year is panic-inducing. There is just so much, I already feel like I’m drowning.
I know I just need to breathe. I know it will get better. But man, this week has been so rough.
I hope the tide goes out soon.