Limping toward the finish line

We are, literally and figuratively, limping toward the finish line of this school year. God, it’s been a rough one. I thought last year was bad. Apparently this year saw last year and said, “Here, hold my beer.” This Herd is DONE. Toast. Finis. Exhausted. Drained. And oh yeah, I am limping.

You see, two days after the Bigs finish school, Big Man and I will run the Rock n Roll Half in San Diego again. My training was a bit derailed last week. I headed out for a four-mile easy run Thursday. I immediately felt pain in the left side of my left knee, and my left Achilles tightened up too. I tried to work through it, slowed down, and then stopped to stretch, but it just hurt. I made it all of .88 miles before I caved. At just over four weeks til race day, I wasn’t going to risk injury. And it really freaking hurt.

I hate when I have to stop a run because of pain. My whole day goes downhill. I was able to get out and finish four miles on Friday morning, but it wasn’t easy. There wasn’t any pain, but there was discomfort. I had to mentally fight to the end. Same happened on this morning’s 5-mile easy run. I was super slow, my muscles didn’t loosen up until mile 3. I will admit, I was tense, afraid the pain from last Thursday would return. I’m so not where I want to be mentally and emotionally with running right now. I’m afraid for this race, afraid I’ve put too much pressure on myself. I’m a little scared.

As for school…we’re usually beat up by this point. That’s nothing new. What is new is the level of being drained we are all at. It’s bad. The Bigs have four more weeks of school – 18 more school days. Big Man just finished the second of two AP exams this morning. The Princess has hers this Friday. In a few weeks, they face final exams. Blessedly they don’t seem to have the level of end-of-school-year projects they’ve had in recent years, thank the  Good Lord. It’s been a brutal year for both of them – academically for Big Man, socially and emotionally for P. We’re all ready to be done, to put this year behind us, chalk it up to life lessons and growing pains, and kiss it goodbye. Don’t let the door hit ya on the way out, 16/17 school year.

Little Man has 6.5 weeks of school. Yep, you read that right. He isn’t out until June 20th. I can’t remember when my kids were in school that late – past my birthday this year. Insanity. That’s 18 days AFTER the older two finish. Utterly ridiculous. I’ve been whining about it since the calendar was released last year. Then, get this, because they are aligning the middle and elementary school calendar with the  high school calendar, he will have just eight weeks of summer, as opposed to ten or eleven. Again, absolutely ridiculous.

He’s struggling right now, again. His SAI sent me an email the other day he’s back to leaving the classroom quite a bit again, spending a significant amount of time in the great room rather than in his class, doing what he’s supposed to be doing. She said he seems more stressed but he can’t express why. We have seen an increase in his anxiety level at home. I have no idea what the source is for his stress. He does tend to go a little sideways the closer we get to the end of the school year, but who knows.

I have no energy. I’m tired. I’m over the morning routine and homework battles. I’m tired of thinking about carpools, 6am cheer, and test scores. The kids are tired too.

You know, some years we come sliding across that finish line with a bang. We’re beat up, but we fight to the end. We might make it by the skin of our teeth, phoning it in on whatever we can. But this year, we’re limping. It’ll be a close thing. I know we’ll get there, but it ain’t gonna be pretty.

Must do vs need to do

This week has been a struggle, personally. I’m drained and frustrated, pushing back against every day’s responsibilities. I woke up this morning, a list of things which must be done today looming over my head. I felt the anxiety building before I was even out of bed.

The older two kids are slugging their way through end-of-the-year projects. I see the value in what they’re doing. I do appreciate each piece of each project and what they’re teaching my children. I just wish all these projects wouldn’t get jammed in at the same time, at the end of the school year. We’re all exhausted, drained, counting the days until summer, trying to battle through two or more multiple-media projects per kid. Add to this all the end-of-year activities….two more parents’ days at lunch, three awards ceremonies, one graduation, the 7th grade Renaissance day (for which I’m supposed to volunteer or donate, as well as put together the Princess’ costume), the 8th grade dinner dance (for which I discovered yesterday Big Man will need new dress pants as he’s outgrown the pants we just bought in December)…..this all on top of our usual schedule of golf lessons, dance classes, and football practices.

We also have our annual fundraiser at the end of May. The next four weeks will be insane and stressful. I know the night itself will be amazing and so fun, but getting there involves a crazy amount of work and thought.  We also have a long list of projects around the house to finish before the event. I stare at that list every day, trying to figure out how it’s all going to happen. As this is our tenth annual event, I have such high hopes, and don’t want to be disappointed. I’m trying to just let it be what it will be, but it’s hard. We have a goal in mind for our fundraising efforts, a goal we’ve had for the last five years but have never reached. I try to remind myself to keep it in perspective, that every dime counts, but it’s hard when something means so much to you, is such a huge part of your heart.

Two days before the fundraiser, I’ll run our spring book fair at school. Leading up that are meetings, volunteer coordination, set-up, and promotion. I love book fair. That’s why I volunteered to chair this year. But at the moment, it just feels like a pesky mosquito buzzing around my head.

My to-do list hangs over my head as I sit here. Yes, I’ve been working on it all week, but somehow it keeps growing larger rather than smaller. I’ve had two anxiety attacks in the last 36 hours. As I was herding the herd through the morning routine this morning, I realized I needed to take a moment for me. I needed a breath. I thought about all the things I need to get done today – dishes, laundry, calling this or that person, scheduling a few appointments, filling out dental paperwork for the Princess, dropping off an unexpired inhaler at school for Little Man, buying gift cards for staff appreciation and dropping those at school…I tried to find a way to get that all done and still have a moment to sit here and read a few blogs, write a post, before the Herd gets out of school. It didn’t seem to be possible. As I pulled into the driveway from dropping Little Man at school, I decided not to wait to be done with the must-do’s to do what I need to do. So I walked in the house, re-filled my coffee cup, and sat down here to spend a few moments with my blogging friends. I’m feeling a million times better already. Thanks for listening, friends. You’ve improved my day immeasurably.