These are some psychotically busy days in the Jones family household. We've got two graduations this year - 6F from 8th grade, and 4M from high school (have I told you that before now? I can't remember). With all of the attendant awards ceremonies, class trips, graduation open-houses, etc. If we only went to half of the open-houses for kids in our community, and gave each of them $10, that would run well over $100. But 4M is an honor student (so he's been invited to something like five different awards ceremonies, all of which have entailed me getting out of work early and driving at least an hour to be there), and some kind of 'Mr. Popularity' (how did this kid come from me?), with kids from his own school, and also the Catholic high school, which he didn't even attend. So we've got at least double the normal number of open-house invitations. If we wanted to, we could be getting free food for a month's worth of weekends (Friday evening thru Sunday evening), starting last week. Well, not exactly free; I still have enough of a conscience that I feel like I ought to give a gift, if I go to a kid's open-house.
And, the graduation festivities mean that relatives are visiting from out-of-town. My birth-mother arrived last night, and since she's on California-body-time, we stayed up WAY too late for me needing to be up for work this morning. She's here for commencement this weekend; we'll have other relatives coming for 4M's open-house next weekend.
And the other three kids who still live at home have got their own end-of-school stuff - parties, special outfits, etc, etc. 7M signed up for two baseball teams this year - a spring league and a summer league - and of course, this week is the last week for the spring league, but also the first week for the summer league (you might think that the two leagues might talk to each other about their schedules, especially since a lot of the same people are running both leagues; but you would be wrong). Yesterday was 1F's birthday; 2F's is in a week-and-a-half. Molly is in charge of a day-camp for K-2 kids, which runs the last week of June. No problem, though, because we're also signed on for a four-day retreat the weekend just before the day-camp. And 4M leaves for a 2-week mission trip that same week (with all the prepatory churning that goes along with that).
Molly and I also signed up to be discussion-leaders for a Theology of the Body class at church, for Friday evenings in May. Looking back, we probably should've passed on that one, but it was just too appealing to let it drop.
Our family is having a family vacation this year, for the first time in a few years - a friend of ours offered us his cabin Up North. But that could only fit in the week immediately after Molly's day-camp, so we'll be packing and getting stuff together for vacation the same time as Molly is running her day-camp.
Crazy, no? But, I don't know if I've mentioned before or not, that, with the iffiness of my ongoing employment status, and all the kids finally being in school all day, Molly has taken on a couple part-time jobs this year. So, even before all the craziness hit, she was struggling with the adjustment phase of how to get her regular stuff - laundry, cooking, shopping - done, with 12-15 less available hours in the week. I've tried to help with some of the shopping, but my long commute doesn't afford me a lot of time. So, my poor wife has been pretty overwhelmed, even before the June looniness hit.
One of the nice things about having been married for almost 29 years, is that we can sort-of 'see coming' the stresses of our schedule, and make a few allowances for it. We try to have a weekly husband-wife meeting, where we touch base on the calendar stuff, but also just spend some time in each other's presence. When life gets crazy like this, the weekly meetings can easily fall by the wayside, and we know from experience that shortfalls in communication lead to stress, as the 'left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing', so to speak. So, we know that times are gonna be stressful, and we just try to account for that, and be extra patient with each other. And make use of the little 10-15-minute snatches of time we do get with each other. It ain't great, but in times like this, sometimes it's the best you can do. . .