We’ve needed rain so much, and the Spring delivered. Rain, and rain, and more rain. We’re headed into the dry season but the plants are gloriously happy. The pollen shimmers in the warming air, and as the kids’ summer break speeds towards me I find myself in a strangely frantic lethargy. There’s so much to do, yet a strangely limp energy to work with. In the morning none of us can wake up, a wooly blanket over us when it seems like the early sunrise should light up our spirits.

At school there are three field trips, multiple parties, and a zillion other things to sign, pay for, or pay attention to. In the morning when I get the kids to class in the nick of time, my eyes are watering, and I don’t understand why it’s not with gratitude for everything beautiful on this earth including those kids. Well I mean it’s allergies, sure. But my worries and busyness seem to crowd out a joy that must be simmering under the surface. Right?

I was talking to a friend the other day, remarking that she always remains so lovely and calm with her children, and my children, even as they yell and whirl. I watch her with them, and just at the moment I’d be starting in with a slightly menacing growl, she says “Well what about this nice activity?” Sweet and kind redirect. Unflappable.

I aspire to this, but instead I look up from desperately packing lunches and see my 10 year old standing with her bowl of cereal at a 30 degree angle, milk dribbling onto the dog. “What are you doing!” I shriek, and it’s only after she’s fled upstairs crying that I piece it together: she was trying to keep the whippersnapper dog from stealing the old dog’s food. It was a humanitarian intervention she thought I’d be proud of, and all I can see is the spilling milk.

My friend tells me she had a long period of infertility and felt so glad to have her kids, so she has patience with them, and gratitude. But this should be my feeling too! Getting these little guys was such a journey, such a life hope and dream and goal. How can I be letting anxiety smother the joy and patient love I should be feeling!

The young dog leaps around with irrepressible, savage glee, gobbling up the coming summer along with any plastic items the kids have dropped, and the pooled milk.

When school gets out, we’re off to family camp at our favorite Lair of the Bear, in the gorgeous Sierra mountains. I vow to smile at the spilling milk, laugh when I discover something important we’ve forgotten to pack and will have to do without. I see us snapping out of this sleepy daze. Here comes life!

Can I do it? Fingers crossed. I’ll let you know.