Who knew Kindergarten would be so rigorous? And the pull to sign up for soccer, language lessons, and extracurricular programs is so strong, it is hard to resist. Therefore, dear daughter, age 6, is working full-time. At least her job as a student follows the academic calendar. Come June, I am determined to set her (and, by proxy, me) free.
Wait, lemme practice:
No, thank you.
I will have to get back to you. Let me think on that. It's not in the cards.
It's not in the stars.
Hang on, lemme check.... NO.
We'd love to, but....
Thanks, I wish we could.
The odds are not in our favor.
The odds are slim.
Not at this time.
No can do.
How about soon?
Even with practice, saying no is hard. Slowing down feels like a crime. To not sign up, to not lock in commitments, to not make travel plans, to not highlight my calendar in 17 colors--
Does anyone else's calendar look like this?
--means to say YES to silence, meditation, sleeping late, snuggling in bed, cooking breakfast from scratch, indulging in a second cup of coffee, gardening (in our pajamas), browsing the vast array of attractions New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have to offer on any given day, yawning loudly, and saying, "Maybe!"
I took the bold step of NOT signing the kids up for daycamp this summer. In a moms' group, I confessed this to be a source of both terror and pride. I WAS AFRAID TO COMMIT TO NOTHING. IT TOOK COURAGE TO COMMIT TO NOTHING, TO REFRAIN FROM THE TEMPTATIONS OF DIVERSION, DISTRACTION, AND DISTANCE BETWEEN MY KIDS AND ME.
The closeness may become suffocating, I'm afraid. Of course, I'm also looking forward to relaxing with them, and being their tour guide for Earth and all its complexities. Their lives will ramp up to an unrelenting frenzy within a few years, so, why not guard this precious idyllic phase where we aren't obligated to do anything?
I worry it will be isolating. I imagine EVERYBODY ELSE at their beach clubs (hey, maybe we can tag along once or twice?), their lake houses, their drama camps (which we may sign up for, a la carte), and their nature camps (which I did look into, but, crossing the Tappan Zee bridge at 8:45am weekdays is the opposite of summer fun). So, we saved a pretty penny on expensive daycamp ($7,600 for both kids at the place we love), and invested a fraction of that in a permanent garden fence. For the past three years, I've been building my own deer fence, out of cheap materials that really only last a season. The first year it was only 3 feet high. The second year I wised up and got the 7-foot-tall one (which is a great temporary choice), and last year I even threw a mesh tent over the top for maximum protection from birds. (Our house is situated, to my delight, a block from the forest preserve, and in the deer's migratory path, so they cross through our back yard. I'll do another post about tick bite prevention, but let me stay in my happy place another minute.)
Spring has sprung and the sprites are warming up their lungs for all the fresh air we're going to get this summer!
We're eager to say, "Goodbye, for now!" to core curriculum and get back to composing our theses from the school of life! June can't come too soon!