This was by far the SHORTEST school year with the LONGEST ending. The month of May is always a grueling marathon for moms. We all know this going in – we try to head it all off at the pass – but by May 15 we are ALL losing our sanity. My to-do list was longer than my arm and it was a smeared, crumpled mess that I could barely pry from my clenched fist by mid-month. Why do schools wait until the last several weeks of the year to have every special event imaginable? There are talent shows, school plays, field days, art shows, teacher appreciation week and the list goes on and on. It’s enough to set the most organized, well-prepared momma crying in aisle twelve of the grocery store because she can’t even remember why she’s there and she can’t read all the smeared lines on her to do list!!! CAN I GET A WITNESS PEOPLE!?
My fave is when we’re informed that NOW OUR PRESENCE IS REQUIRED so we can hear our kid recite a two-minute poem!!??? WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS??? This requires showering and non-yoga pant outfits!!! Don’t they realize that collectively moms are all acknowledging we have reached DEF CON FIVE – I repeat DEF CON FIVE? The minions are nearly out for summer and ALL HANDS NEED TO BE ON DECK IN PREPARATION. It’s a lot of stress. That’s all I’m saying. Thank God it’s over. Adios May! Don’t let the door hitcha in the butt.
Sigh. Deep breaths. So, somehow we all survived the trauma that is the month of May. Praise the Lord. For the Key family the end of May signals high tailing it outta town to celebrate that fact that we have all survived. This doesn’t necessarily mean there are kudos all around for glowing report cards. It doesn’t reflect frolicking hand in hand with teachers as we recount each joyous day they had with said minions throughout the school year. It means we SURVIVED. In my book, survival calls for celebration.
So the hubbs comes up with this idea to try a new place for vacay. My answer is “What’s wrong with the old place!?” But whatever. I’m game for anything since alarm clocks are now at the off position and book bags are being burned in the back yard and homework is nearly just a bad memory. (Homework is almost like childbirth – just days after it’s over you almost forget it was as bad as it was. Well, almost. But you know what I mean.)
I really couldn’t believe we were set to leave town. I was thinking to myself “There’s actually a jet out there being gassed up because it’s gonna fly us outta here! We have have made it to the finish line!!” I’m so excited that I almost don’t mind reminding the tween FOR THE THIRD TIME that he really should put clothes on his naked body since we are ready to leave. As I turn around to hand him his travel toothbrush I WALK INTO HIM MID CARTWHEEL – while he’s still in the nude – with a force so strong that he knocks me IN MY JAW AND INTO THE WALL! I literally didn’t know what hit me at first but then my brain called up the last image of said tween’s bony butt and his heel coming at my jaw at 50 mph. I saw stars! Then I saw blood! Then I felt a pain so enormous I couldn’t even process what was happening. I was so angry and so hurt that I did what many moms might do in such a situation. I sat on my toilet, locked the door behind me and cried. I cried hard. I could hear him crying hard on the other side of the door too – he was scared and sorry. But I couldn’t even answer him to say whether I was okay because I mostly wasn’t. While there was the shock of getting socked in the jaw, I realized my tears were seemingly endless because this school year was another tough one for him, and when your kid has a tough school year you do too. So I sat there and figured I should just keep crying until I was all done, because if you don’t get rid of all the tears you need to shed they linger. Then they creep back up on you at inopportune times when you’re NOT sitting on your toilet – alone- behind a locked door and you end up looking like a wacko.
My lip was bloody and swollen, my jaw hurt to the touch and I was certain it was pushed out of it’s place. No matter. Jets don’t wait. So off we were. Family fun time was officially kicking off and I was in a catatonic state with facial injuries. I mostly didn’t speak during the plane rides or layovers. It hurt just to think. My head was on fire.
Then fast forward to our vacation’s first morning. A quiet walk with the hubbs through a beautiful maze of green with the backdrop of Costa Rican mountains and tropical foliage and he says “Look there’s the spa. Go in and pick some stuff out to have done because you need it.” Who am I to argue? I’m thinking, “Wives, just submit to your husbands already.” So the next thing I know I’m walking into a room with rose petals on the floor and delicate aromas wafting through the air. All those spa sounds that are cued up in most places are actually just naturally happening as I’m in this gorgeous outdoor cabana with flowy sheer curtains and like a thousand little birds and wildlife that are making a symphony of happy outside.
Deep breaths. Beautiful. Happy. Special. My heart begins to go back to it’s normal rhythm once again. In my mind I kept saying “Praise the Lord!” over and over and over. He’s so good isn’t He? Did I mention the rose petals ON THE FLOOR!? How frivolous and spectacular is THAT!? He specializes in spectacular. “Praise the Lord…praise the Lord”, I just keep saying it in my head to the rhythm of those amazing birds and frogs and whatever else was joining in. I thought at one point I heard turkey sounds. Costa Rican turkeys were lurking and joining in the fun!? And that’s when I opened one eye to see if I could find the turkey and instead – standing almost taller than the bright blue sky – I see the HUGE VOLCANO that was towering above us. Yeah…I almost forgot that was there. I thought to myself “What a great metaphor for my life,” or any of our lives for that matter. There’s a huge volcano that could blow at any minute towering right above us – ALL THE TIME. Even in the midst of strewn rose petals and happy.
So what should we do about that??
I decided to tune back in to the symphony of lovely those Costa Rican animals were making for me. What? Am I gonna take on a volcano now too? No. It’s not going anywhere. Whether we can SEE the volcano or not – it’s ALWAYS there. WHY RUN FROM LAVA THAT’S NOT FLOWING YET WHEN YOU CAN STOP AND SMELL THE ROSE PETALS?
Deep…breaths…of…thanks. This moment is my gift and I’m taking it.
Then off in the not-so-far distance I could actually hear the tween yelling “Dad! There’s an iguana over here!”