Wednesday, April 24, 2013


My family is sick lately.

We’re not usually sick – we get regular flu shots and for the most part, we’re all rather healthy, even in the middle of flu and cold season. No one has severe allergies or any sort of “-itis” or medical condition. We’re really lucky like that.

But something shifted late last week.

My younger daughter has been a little out-of-sorts, crying, upset. My middle daughter collapsed from a mild case of heat stroke on a Sunday hike (she’s fine, thankfully, just needed a lot of R&R and water) and missed most of her classes on Monday.  My oldest daughter, already in pain from the final rigorous phase of her last month of wearing braces, felt like she was going to black out this morning and collapsed into a catatonic heap on my bed before school.

I wondered aloud to my husband, What is going on?

He didn't have to answer. I feel it, too.

We’re depleted, plain and simple. Depleted of the energy required to go through the motions of a regular schedule. Sick of waking up early and running and working all day long, only to have hours of homework after school (when they should be outside, playing, enjoying the real, natural world). Ready for the unstructured freedom of summer.

What is it about the sun that makes our minds wander?

At the start of every school year – or, really, a month into it, around October – we’re ready for the structure and discipline of winter. It seems as though the cold weather inspires a nose-to-the-grindstone attitude, followed by the rewards of winter holidays and New Year celebrations. And just past the new year, we have a plethora of faux-holiday days off that keep our stamina up. But after Spring Break, it’s all about the last few months of school, the “final push before summer.”

But still, I hate it.

This morning after I dropped Serena off at school, I watched Emme sleeping in her bed, mouth open slightly, dreaming, her braces enjoying their final weeks in her mouth.

It won’t always be like this, a voice inside my head admonished. Someday in the very near future, my little ducklings will have to finish up their little lives here with me and go off in search of their own paths. And at that time, will any of this rigor matter? What will missed homework and sick days and even school itself mean?

Again, I know the answer. 

Not much.

Watching Emme sleep, I recognized the trap we fall into, believing that we have to do this, or we have to do that. And I was a junkie for good grades and being the best at my job, etc. Just last night (and again this morning on the way to school), I lectured Serena on not falling behind in homework because the due date is several days away (and other homework tends to pile up, on top of it). To tell the truth, I got sick of hearing my own voice lecturing, mostly because I don’t get the point of so much homework.

Is it just me? Or are you feeling depleted too??


  1. Tully came home the other day with his report card and in it he had the Lion's Pride award for academic excellence. He didn't get the silver one for attendance. I thought about it and told him, "Sorry, kid. You've got a mom who believes in pulling you out of school to experience the world. You will probably never get the attendance award because I want you to see what's around you, not just a classroom." I think we're not quite so depleted because I adhere to this "rule" of getting away. When we all look a little wilted, we book a weekend away. We're fortunate that we can do that. Now, ask me about how much I'm done with my job and that's a whole 'nother story. x to the o.

    1. Gerta, I totally agree - we're raising global citizens, aren't we? I guess I'm just feeling the burn-out...

  2. You always put your finger right on it!! Thank you for expressing it so a teacher, by May IT was all over but the shouting. Hang in there....

    1. Harriet, the teachers have said the same to me! We are ALL ready for summer!!