I’ve been reading more blogs lately. It’s equal parts wanting escapism and wanting community. I have discovered that each August brings with it a kind of fatigue and panic. I imagine it has something to do with hitting the two month mark of juggling an unpredicatble schedule—camp proves too much for the girls and they need a break, clients come out of the woodwork and request meetings that suggest they know when I can’t meet and will take no substitute and despite a long winter, I become disenchanted with the oppressive humidity and find my fuse grows shorter by the day.
I’ve read about not being superhuman, about transitioning to new truths, and I’ve been contemplating the inevitable march to the next thing that is lapping at these August days. Sometimes the enormity of what parenting means overwhelms me. How can it be that we are supposed to spend time nurturing these creatures from completely helpless and needy, to not needing us? How can you do that naturally? And how is it possible that despite knowing how fleeting it is we can still be undone by a grueling bedtime? Or feel resentful that they want a 6th story or 29th string cheese?
I think August really just shames me, because I long for autumn, long for school and all the while I am aching with the longer limbs, astute observations and soaring changes in my girls. It never occurs to me that maybe I am growing too. Is my impulse to say no a sign that perhaps I am readying for the road ahead? Could responding to requests for a show with, “No. Why don’t you find something to do with the things in the art bin?” or “You girls should go play outside instead,” mean that I know what they need to emerge from this stage to the next? Because in August, after the girls have gone to bed, I feel as if I am failing, like I am shirking responsibility and failing to dig deep enough.
I happened to take a moment after saying no the other day to really examine how the girls were. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were having fun. No one was murmuring, “She’s so mean,” and they were actually getting along. My “no,” which I had assumed would be interpreted as a punishment, was actually very matter of fact. It was no different than if they’d asked if my favorite color was blue or green and I’d answered green.
I said no. No to guilt, no to the same old thing. I don’t know how every single little thing will play out and in deviating from the usual answer of yes, I think maybe I grew up a little.