David and I went skinny dipping last night.
It seemed like the right thing to do, given the heat and the haze of the first full week of school.
I have wept and complained and moaned and wailed. I have had more than one vivid fantasy about pulling everyone out of public school and packing up the tent and moving to the rainforests of British Columbia. Maybe we'd even buy a canoe. You know, to get around. In an effort to blame someone for the shock and pain of real life, I have given David the stink eye, the evil eye, and the pleading, don't-leave-me-now eye.
All to no avail. There is no help for it. We are back to school. And somehow it seems like the greatest tragedy of my life.
I keep asking David, "Why are we doing this?"
And he just looks at me indulgently. "Come on, Ap. We want our children to be educated, right?"
I'm honestly not sure.
Ethan came home from the first day of school with a stiff upper lip. By dinner, though, he had dissolved into hiccupy sobs. The kind that break your heart. Halfway through his chicken and artichokes he was in my lap, his head buried in my neck. His two best friends have moved away and both the lunchroom and the playground had been very lonely affairs. The next day I wondered what kind of person sends her nine-year-old boy back to the same fate, armed only with bolstering hugs and whispered words of encouragement. It seems preposterous. On every level.
The other children are transitioning with more grace and ease. Especially Olivia. She started high school and somehow managed to find a group of cute senior boys to eat lunch with. Life has never been better. At the same dinner table that Ethan sobbed his heart out, Olivia couldn't stop grinning.
How am I supposed to nurture and care for all these children given all that emotion? At any moment, there are wild swings between the happiness or misery of my four children. And five days in, I'm exhausted. And heartbroken. And worried. And worn thin. And sick to death of office supply stores. And so, so tired. Did I mention I was tired? I actually had the thought this week that I ought to have my thyroid checked and then I remembered we were just back in school. And as hard as I'm working, it's still not enough. I told David that we need none of me from 9:00 to 2:00 and we need four of me from 3:00 to 9:00. There are some serious staffing issues around here in the late afternoon.
David says, "Come on, Ap. It's only the first week." He says this to be encouraging. Like, give it some time and it will get better. We'll get used to it somehow.
But I only hear, "It's only the first week," and desperately wonder how I can possibly manage another thirty-eight. See? That place in the rainforest sounds awesome.
This afternoon I am going with Caleb so he can take his driving test for his license.
Maybe I will tell him to just keep driving, and driving, and driving, until we find the open ocean and a sturdy canoe.