An Open Letter to May
As a child psychologist, I have the privilege of listening to the stories of families as they experience the ebb and flow of the seasons. Themes always emerge throughout the year: the start of school, noticing concerns with their child, holidays, celebrating their child's progress, the end of school, and summer vacations. However, the month of May is the most attention-getting of all. May is a month of high anxiety for everyone. And so, on behalf of parents everywhere, I have some thoughts for you, May.
You are exhausting, overwhelming, and quite ridiculous. Just as we have all survived the sickness of winter and the pollen of spring, here you are ready to change it all up on us. You are filled with “last times” and impending change, raising every child’s anxiety. You are hitting my family especially hard this year with one child finishing preschool and the other graduating from fifth grade. Just last night, I had one son in bed crying about leaving his teacher because he “just loves her so much” (I know, such a good problem to have) and another son not even able to sleep because he couldn't stop thinking about graduation and “that sad song” he and his classmates will be singing.
I know, May. You are showing up because we asked you to. We adults think it’s super cute to make an even bigger deal out of these goodbyes with ceremonies. Many children like to celebrate, but some do not. I have helped families decide if their child should participate in your ceremonies this year, or if it’s just too much. Too much change in routine, too many people, or it's just too loud. So for some, I recommend not even dealing with your ceremonies May. Maybe next year we will consider you again.
But, as if the ceremonies and graduations were not enough, you throw in your end-of-year parties, field days, and choir and band performances, sometimes in the middle of the day just to watch us sweat. You do know that many of us have jobs, right? We probably should just take the entire month off from work so that we can deal with you. You change our schedules and throw us off of our working-parent game that is a fine-tuned machine by this point in the school year. May, routines are our friend and you’re coming between us.
Then, just when we're ready to be done with you because you’ve beaten us down with the mayhem of rearranging things at work, finding childcare for one kid, so we can be there for the other kid, you come in like a ninja on celebration day and melt our hearts while the tears start flowing. Our child, who couldn’t handle the chaos last year, is up on that stage looking so proud of himself! Our youngest is FINALLY going to Kindergarten and we don’t even know how to process life without our sweet preschool. Our child, who struggled throughout school, has reached her graduation day full of pride! We are so proud of them, and so sad it’s over, yet so happy it’s done.
You are just too much, May! We'll see you next year so we can do it again, though. Because that moment of pride on my child’s face is worth every challenge you’ve thrown at me. Bring it on, May 2020.
Proud and Exhausted Parents Everywhere
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