Every. Year. Headaches, body aches, fatigue, and a general feeling of malaise, wash over me like a hangover. Not just any hangover. This kind is reminiscent of college days when we all drank beer like water and left a trail of vomit all the way home. And why do I feel this way every fall?
Because September is the hangover month.
Summer is all about survival in our house. I’d venture to guess I’m not alone in this. Every day is about managing the unstructured time, deescalating meltdowns, and finding autism-friendly activities for all of us to do. It’s exhausting. All through June, July, and hellish August, I looked to September like a rainbow at the end of a storm. A ray of hope. Freedom. I fantasize about drinking coffee in peace and of all the things I will be able to accomplish while the children are at school.
As the days creep closer and closer to the end of summer vacation, it gets ugly. Really ugly.This year my best friend and I dragged five overstimulated children through Target to get school supplies. The kids lost it. We lost it. My youngest ingested hand sanitizer, the older boys punched toilet paper rolls and wrestled in the aisle, and the youngest of the crew sang a loud song about hating everyone. We weren’t the only ones. I witnessed more than one mom mumbling things under her breath while dragging her child and her full cart to the checkout.
And what reward do we receive for surviving this chaos—like a boss—every year? A mile-high stack of school forms to fill out, screaming kids who don’t want to wear shoes anymore, and who get sick, get sick again, get sick again, staying up late to pack lunches, arguing about homework, going to soccer practices, signing kids up for piano lessons, attending half a dozen scout meetings, and fielding calls from the school that your child did x,y AND z.
Here it is…September has come and gone and I’m just now catching my breath. I didn’t cross off anything from my list. My poor, patient editor is still waiting on me to finish my latest book. And I need to be OK with that. It’s a transition time and it’s hard. It’s easy to recognize this in our kids, but we should cut ourselves some slack too. So extend yourself and the other parents around you a little grace. We will get through this with the aid of coffee, ibuprofen and chocolate. Or is that just me?