May is usually pictured as cheerful. Kids running through fields of wildflowers, or picking strawberries with red juice staining white frocks. The world coming awake from its wintry hibernation. It is happy. It’s spring. The earth is blooming.
But what about when you feel at odds with the world outside? Like the inevitable good-byes that come when you live in a military community. Like remembering the bittersweet end of each school year – mostly sweet, because the long, lovely days of summer were ahead; but a bit bitter, too, when it meant change was around the corner. I remember the year I graduated from the only school I’d known because I’d be attending high school the next fall. I can recall the joyous grief when I graduated from high school, as we all were about to scatter to our next stages of life. And college graduation was probably the most distinct. Those four years were a sweet, sweet season of my life that I wept at leaving behind. The drive back to South Carolina from Chicago that May was a trail of tears … mine as I kept wanting to look in the rearview and remember the good times, as if that might help them to last forever.
So I think it’s normal (I tell myself) that each May I feel a mixture of all of the Mays I’ve lived. The excitement, the anticipation, the anxiety, the regret, the sad farewells to friends and seasons. And I can’t help but remember the May two years ago when friends lost their 17-year-old son to tragedy. In meeting with this friend a few weeks ago, she talked about the way that May seems to drag on forever some years (like this one).
If you have felt the May blues in whatever degree, take heart. You’re not alone. Change, well, it’s unsettling at any stage of life. This May our across-the-street beloved neighbors moved. They were the kind of friends you felt truly #blessed to have as neighbors. My husband and I enjoyed the company of the parents as much as our kids loved playing together. We left for vacation for a week and when we came back, they’d moved already. We knew it was coming, but after the fact … it feels like something is missing. Life on our street doesn’t feel the same.
And I’ll be honest. As a mom of twin 5-year-olds, summer feels rather daunting. I want to be the mom who enjoys the extra free time at home with her children (and some days I do), but I too often feel like the mom who gets tired of being camp director/chef/cleaning boss/chief disciplinarian. Times 100 in the summer because of all.those.hours. Every day. And so.much.heat. And no.more.naps. I don’t want to default to PBS kids’ marathons Mon-Fri because “mama just can’t take it anymore.” So while the finish line of preschool edges ever so close these next few weeks, I am trying to remember the “sweet” part of “bittersweet May” and to remind myself that these days with these 5-year-olds will one day be a wistful glance in the rearview of my life.