Thursday, October 6, 2011


Well, school is back in session.  Track out has ended and here I find myself again, trying to regroup.  It's one thing I'm not sure I like about year round - the back and forth between lives - nine weeks in one mindset, three weeks in another.

In traditional calendar schools, one knows there will be one long summer break, and that is one life.  That is long, lazy summer days, endless time at the pool, kids home, lunches whenever, mornings in slow motion.  Then September comes and back to school and lunches and busy-ness that way and one can settle into it for a good nine months.

But in year-round it's constant motion and change.  Nine weeks in, time to get projects at home started and complete, lunches, papers, homework, field trips, volunteering, conferences, end of quarter celebrations, done.  Then kids home all the time and projects are put on hold.  A week easing into track out time, planning play dates around an ever-decreasing number of time slots in friends' busy lives, fitting in activities, packing and shopping for vacation, late nights for a short time, then easing quickly back to earlier bedtimes for track out ends in just a week, four days, tomorrow.

My head spins and it seems like as the kids get older, the time is quicker, crazier, busier.  I don't know that we ever really get to relax, not the way one does during summer vacation.

But then, isn't that the way the world goes now?  Few of us are fortunate enough to even be able to stay home.  This economy isn't very forgiving in matters of family time - it is nearly impossible to get by on one income and has been for a long time.  And for those of us who are able to (sort of) make it work, we still struggle to slow things down, if not for us, then for our kids, so that they might still, somehow, enjoy being a kid when the world is pushing them to be little adults.

That is my struggle with year-round in a nutshell.  Sure it's nice to have flexibility in vacation time, and it's nice for the kids to theoretically get a routine break, and sure, I'd probably get tired of the long summer days after a while.  But summer breaks force us all to slow down, remind us all to take a long deep breath, make us all learn to enjoy each other's company again.

Even in today's world where every kid is in a sport and parents enroll their children in travel leagues that become a whole family activity, and many families see both parents working, I can't help but feel that the year-round calendar complicates things, makes schedules crazier, imposes an unnecessary burden on our lives.  I wonder, in twenty years when society looks back and evaluates its success, what they will determine.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


We left Myrtle Beach late yesterday afternoon.  It was 84 degrees and sunny, but as we approached the I-95 corridor the sky was looking stormy due to the line of thunderstorms crossing the Carolinas from west to east.  By the time we'd been on I-95 for 30 minutes or so, we were smack in the middle of the storms, my husband driving precariously through intermittent bands of heavy, windshield spattering rain as I desperately fiddled with the defrost mode to find the right setting that would allow a clear view of the road ahead.  The temperature reading on our dash was dropping quickly, first 75 degrees, then 70, then 64.

At some point, as we marveled at the beautiful sunshine to our left, the ominous deep gray sky in front, and the stormy mottled sky to our right, my husband remarked that he hadn't found the rainbow yet, for surely there would be one.

And shortly after, sure enough, it came in the form of a brilliant double bow, one whose clarity and depth of color I have never witnessed before.  The arc stretched out before us on the right and we were able to see the full bow, end to end, for many miles as we traveled.  I tried to snap some pictures, but the quality of color was lost.  It was something that had to be seen in person.

It was a lovely moment in a very stressful drive, in a very stressful and busy time in our lives, after a weeklong vacation that fit the description dubiously at best.  Rainbows always seem to portend good things, a purging of sorts of all bad thoughts and worries.

As the remnants of a long, hot, ho-hum summer pass on by us, I hope this rainbow does, indeed, mean good things.