By Megan Seckman
I had a melt-down while cooking dinner last night. A tributary of tears flooded my perfectly fluffed curried rice and over-salted the marinade. The kids in the other room decrescendoed their wails and squeals to quiet whispers of what's wrong with mommy?
In two weeks I will return to teaching; the life as I've known it as a stay-at-home-mom/chef/artist for two months will cease. Soon, hurried schedules and overall exhaustion will drain the creative juices from my being, turning my life to dust.
To the teacher or mother of small school-aged children, summer ends promptly on the first day of school (or the frantic week prior of scheduling, transitioning, preparing). Weather is no factor. I suppose a bit of mourning is appropriate to this season — look what Demeter does to the Earth every year when her child is taken from her, when her summer frolicking ceases. Every year I have an equally irrational lament. It’s just that life is so damn full of all the right stuff in the summer: authentic family time, pleasure, leisure, creativity, time for a hangover . . . that it saddens me to the core when it must end. Even my son, a first grader, is ambivalent about starting the process all over again, “There’s so much work, mom. I want to play and have alone time.” Me too, little man.
Not to mention the lack of bathroom breaks or time to write or groom or think, or the difficulty of pulling off the delicate balancing act of self/mother/wife/professional. Nonetheless, the school year will begin and my son will succeed, my students will learn, and I will survive. Somewhere in this season of change, the tears will evaporate and creative juices will rain down from above, whetting the spirit, pulsing through arid veins, causing a run-off of joy and make green all that withered or fell to the ground. Hopefully, I won’t have to wait until next May for this downpour. Hopefully, I’ll find a neat balance and function with vigor and efficiency, able to wear all hats proudly. Hopefully, I haven’t ruined my rice, sent my husband into a mild depression or terrified my kids in yet another seasonal meltdown.