For example, school vacation is often a bit of a challenge for me (as it is for many parents). Yes, there are a lot of fun and geshmak moments, but stressful stuff happens too.
So I wasn't sure how this summer vacation would go.
For the past few years, some or all of my older kids like to stay up most of the night during vacations. But their talking and moving around the apartment sometimes woke me up or even worse, woke up the youngest, who until this past year had been an inconveniently light sleeper.
(They didn't mean to be noisy; they thought they were being quiet enough. And if the youngest woke up, they offered to take care of him so I could go back to sleep. So not bad kids at all.)
Well, this past year, my 3-year-old would come home from gan and then it was a struggle to keep him occupied until the evening. We went to the park or shopping many times. Baruch Hashem, he walks well and has been one of my best kids about holding my hand; he doesn't even want to run off, which is a huge chessed. So it's just a matter of hopping on a bus with no need to lug a stroller. We also read books. And during the last month, we sometimes hosted a friend from gan in the afternoons, along with the friend's helpful older brother.
But still. It was a lot of hours and it was every single day. And the truth is that I don't always feel like reading preschool books or going out or being responsible for both my child and someone else's.
My 3-year-old is also a real screamer whenever he wants anything. (This has been a big adjustment for me because I succeeded in being mechanech the rest of my kids not to cry, scream, or tantrum. I guess Hashem is showing me that it wasn't my successful chinuch, but His that enabled success until now -- thanks, Hashem!) My 3-year-old has been that way since he was born. Even as a newborn, he immediately screamed for all he was worth upon waking up at night for a feeding, instead of starting out with little baby whimpers or crying like most babies do.
So I was looking toward this summer vacation with both hope and trepidation.
He's quite attached to me, but I guess that a middle-aged mother just isn't nearly as much fun as a teenage brother -- no surprise there, eh?
So it ended up that my 3-year-old has been so happy and well-occupied these weeks. In fact, he has never been easier! The other kids have been in and out on various hiking trips up North, swimming, yeshivat bein hazmanim, and work (depending which kid). Some still hang out in the living room at night when they should be sleeping, but for whatever the reason, it hasn't disturbed my own sleep (or their little brother's sleep) this time -- baruch Hashem.
Also, one child got a new job with a better chevra (working with a Breslover chassid instead of Christians and Muslims as he was before) and more interesting work that involves a lot of traveling and perks. (For example, after finishing up work at a naval base, his Breslov boss decided that as long as they were by the sea, they should go swimming and enjoy the beach for the rest of the evening.) He also works more normal, consistent hours than he did before.
So that's been a big bracha and positive change.
Needless to say, there can still be a lot of mess and noise and occasional sibling friction, but it feels normal, not overwhelming.
So oddly enough, I feel like I could use another week of what has ended up being a real vacation, instead of starting back to school on Sunday.
And now, I'm dreading this. I actually wish summer vacation would keep going on...
But our 3-year-old has never transitioned well in anything since he was born, and tends to fight any change with all his little might. So he'll be in a new place with a new teacher and riding to school in a hired van with strangers instead of being escorted by a family member. (Yes, we'll take him to school the first couple of days, but after that, it's the hired van.)
Oh, and I forgot to mention that he gets sick easily, more than all my other kids. When adjusting to gan this past year (with a ganenet who invested her heart in him), he was constantly getting sick for the first couple of months. (Until the age 2.5, he'd been at home with me.) Plus he's erratic and stubborn with his wake/sleep cycles, so despite gan hours being from 8AM-1PM, we often only managed to get him to gan around 10.
So I'm REALLY dreading the start of this new school year. Yes, I've been davening to Hashem that he transitions well, but with his screaming, physical strength, and tendency to get sick especially when stressed, I'm really not sure how this is going go. I'm wondering if I'm facing a very stressful month ahead, a month which will demand a lot of me both physically and emotionally.
But maybe Hashem will pleasantly surprise me again.
I know that whatever will be will be for our best benefit. Even all the stressful stuff with him before was for our benefit (even as it sometimes drove me to tears and overwhelming anxiety).
But at the same time, I'm really dreading going through everything again, with the extra pressure of dealing with a greater distance and transportation and less flexibility regarding times, etc.
On the other hand, there's so much to be grateful for: We know the teacher and we know he's so good with this age, we know our child will enjoy playing with other boys and learning new things. We like the school. The van hired for transport seems responsible.
So there's what my mind knows and what my heart feels. And they're at odds.
We'll see how things go.
And however it goes...gam zu l'tovah!
(At least that's what I plan to keep telling myself, even if I have to grit my teeth to say it. ;-)