As a parent, I’ve never been a big fan of the end of the school year. Actually, it’s the last two months of school that set my teeth on edge. And it’s not just the impending school vacation where I am left with the “rock and a hard place” choice of either spending all of my drinking money on camp or spending all of my drinking money on drinking because my kids are home all day. My eyelid still twitches when I remember “The Great No Camp Summer of 2013.” Never again, folks. Never again.
But more than that, it is the never-ending round of parties and meetings and art class visits and field day and field trips that drives me up a tree. I’ve got to be at the kids’ school almost every day over the next 4.5 weeks. There’s the 5th grade talent show and the 5th grade beach party and the 5th grade moving up ceremony and the 3rd grade animal adaptations presentation and the all-school field day. If one more person asks me to chaperone a field trip, I’m going to lose my damn mind. It’s enough!
It doesn’t end there, though, because it’s not just the stuff at the school. Oh, no. It’s trying to force three kids to do their homework when all they want to do is play Butt Tag and Don’t Touch the Ground Tag and TV Tag (whatever happened to plain ole tag?). It’s trying to get those kids to go to bed before the sun goes down when bedtime is 8:00 and sunset is 8:30. It’s baseball games that go until 8:00 at night and feeding kids dinner at 8:30pm and waking them up at 6:00am to do the homework they didn’t do the night before.
And adding a new wrinkle to my irritation with the end of the school year? Seeing all the pictures of kids off to prom and newly minted graduates and not knowing whether I will be around to take those pictures of my own kids. Every post on social media congratulating a friend’s kid on their chosen college or university is a freakin’ stab to the heart.
How will my daughter go to prom without me there to pay for her manicure and hem her dress and remind her to tuck a condom in her bag because sometimes things happen even when you don’t plan them? (And if you think I’m being naive thinking that things won’t “happen” before prom, believe me, I know. I just don’t want to say it out loud.)
How will my sons go to college without me nagging them to refine their essays, broaden their extracurricular activities and devote as much time to community service and homework as they do to sports and clubs?
I hate the idea that I won’t be here. I hate it so much it causes me physical pain. There was a study released this week that shows that people living with MBC (metastatic breast cancer) are living longer. The problem is, it’s by months. Not years. Not decades. Not enough.
I know that there are people who beat the odds. And that lots of the people who don’t survive for five years with this disease were diagnosed when they were 80 years old or older and they wouldn’t have been alive at the five year mark even without the cancer. It seems that everyone has a story about a friend or relative who had Stage 4 cancer and they lived for 30 years. But the statistics still suck and seeing all these milestones being celebrated when I have no guarantee I will be there to celebrate them with my children sucks. It. Fucking. Sucks.
I am not giving up. I am not denying that I am strong. I am not about to lie down and wait for the Grim Reaper to come and take me. I’m just saying that it’s hard. And I’m tired. And feeling a little blue.