Ahhh summer! Lounging by the pool, watching the kids play on the swing set, eating sticky popsicles before they can melt. Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? It does to me. And unrealistic. Does summer really look like that? I’m sure it does for some. For us? Not so much.
For most, the prospect of having the summer off sounds like a dream come true. All you non-teachers out there are cursing us as you see the myriad Facebook posts of kids jumping into pools with moms’ feet in the foreground just to prove that they’re sitting there. Sitting. Doing nothing but sitting. But for this teacher, summer gives me anxiety.
One reason for the anxiety is that I’m not built to be a stay-at-home-mom. I never have been and I never will be. Don’t get me wrong, I commend those that can and want to do it. I just don’t. I love my children but I also love working. I need to keep myself busy with adult things and adult conversations and adult work. I relish the two days a week that I get without kids to work my ass off in the yard or go run errands. And by August 1st I’m almost crawling out of my skin. (For the record, I was like this before I had kids.)
The main reason for the anxiety this year, though, is thinking about what to do with Ryan. This is the first summer that Ryan is completely mobile. She starting really walking last summer in San Diego when we were there for the 11q conference.
Here’s a video of Ryan walking down the hall in our hotel.
And let me tell you… Walking is HARD. Since Ryan starting walking last summer, she has walked the same way since. Unbalanced, hands in the air, and on the verge of falling at all times. And fall she does. I couldn’t even begin to count how many falls she has a day. She has chipped teeth and bruised and scraped legs and has broken her glasses numerous times. And oh yeah, her nose too. So when I think about summer, I break out into a cold sweat.
This is how Ryan walks now. Not much has changed from a year ago. We remind her to put her hands down which slows her down but she forgets to look where her feet are going.
Summer time is meant to be spent outside (or “ow hide” as Ryan calls it). Our outside is pretty awesome. We have a beautiful yard and a pool. But it’s so hard to enjoy it with Ryan. She loves the pool but she can’t wear a floaty because she has sensory issues. We have to hold her while she flails and kicks and practically scratches our eyes out trying to splash in the water. She loves the swing set, but because of her instability, we are up the ladder and down the slide a million times right along with her. And I think she’d like a popsicle except she’d gag herself and then there’d be popsicle puke. So that idyllic summer scene? Yeah.
We’re trying though. No matter how hard it is we’re going to try to do it all. And maybe even eat a popsicle or two.