I love this time of year. We still have a couple of feet of snow in some places, but we also have bare ground — bare ground! — in the front yard. Recent days have been warm enough to inspire strip shows and endless hours of sand play among the toddler set. After dinner, they return outside for one last hurrah before I call them in for warm baths and pajamas. And then they collapse in exhaustion. Good exhaustion. Springtime exhaustion. The kind that only comes from breathing fresh air and walking in the woods. The kind we should all be feeling this time of year.
But I need to balance this springtime goodness, this healthy outdoor attraction, with the reality that our school year will be coming to a close in the next two months. The responsible mother in me is looking at the pages of math work we have left and panicking. The practical mother in me is loving the fact that the house is actually empty and quiet for long stretches of time when the gang is playing outdoors. But then I look at the books again and I wonder: Are we where we should be?
Some of my worries are real — we do need to hold ourselves accountable and make forward progress. We will not be doing much formal schoolwork during the summer and some subjects absolutely do need to be completed. But some of my worries are just my hyper-controlling self refusing to let a good thing happen.
This is where it comes in handy to have a practical husband and father in the house. It took him only a minute to look over the books, set a reasonable goal, and suggest a schedule. And just like that — I can be balanced. I know where we can make concessions and where we can’t. I know how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go.
This afternoon as I watched my sun-starved kids making forts in the woods and getting themselves all kinds of crazy-dirty, I asked myself once again: Are we where we should be?
And the answer was yes. Absolutely we are.