“It’s a busy time of year.”
That’s what we all tell each other: as we try to find a mutually convenient date to get together; as we fill in the pause on the other end of the phone after asking for a favor that is apparently not going to be granted; as we apologize for forgetting our carpool turn.
It isn’t the only busy time of year, to be sure. We use this same line from Labor Day through the ramp-up to a new school year in September and again from mid-November through New Year’s to get through our holiday schedules. This particular “busy time of year” seems to me to begin when the kids return from school after April vacation and run through the weekend that follows the end of the school year.
This is a time of year at which I have to remind myself that my topmost priority other than taking care of my family – my priority as far as how I spend my workday while they are off at work and school – is writing articles, researching ideas and meeting deadlines, not being a full-time hostess.
And yet when I look at my To Do list this week – or next week, or the one after that – you’d never know that my job was to write newspaper stories. Because this is the time of year when my calendar fills up with other obligations. I need to compile a scrapbook for a retiring third grade teacher. I’m in charge of cream-whipping for the townwide Strawberry Festival (a job I’m assuming won’t require much advance preparation, but I’ve never done it before; I could be overlooking some critical training task). There are baked goods to be furnished for a student minister’s ordination. I’m hosting a farewell party for a friend who is moving out of state, and a weekday brunch for the school library volunteers. I also have to coordinate the yearly faculty/staff luncheon at my kids’ school, and the seventh grade advisor just contacted me and the three other seventh grade room parents to ask if we planned to hold the annual ice cream social for the class.
And it all seemed manageable until I came down with a cold. I get colds about once every three years; I can’t remember the last time I had one. For that, I’m grateful. And yet when they come, they hit me hard. I’ve been up since four o’clock this morning with a scratchy throat and just want to go back to bed.
That’s a lot of complaining for someone who volunteered for just about all of the above. Well, not the cold, of course. But both the busyness and the cold are a small price to pay for having a fairly interesting life. I know all of these events will turn out fine, and with a little diligence, I’ll even manage to pull them all off without missing any deadlines.
Right now, though, a more important task than any of the above calls. We’re out of cough drops, and I’m desperate. So my Kleenex box and I will head off to the drugstore for some relief, and then get back to work.