We are way behind in our blog writing – not just because the weather here is glorious and we’re finally getting to spend all our time outdoors, but rather, because there was one massive thing I completely overlooked when moving here.
In the U.S., I refer to the month of May as the « crescendo » month. It is the month when things hit the high notes and start to hum – the weather is beautiful, so there are lots of festivals and fairs and picnics and in some cases, graduations and weddings. There are also lots of end-of-year parties, teacher gifts to coordinate, final papers and award ceremonies. On top of that there is a mad rush at work because everyone knows the summer is coming. Soon people will be on holiday and getting anything done in August in D.C. is virtually impossible. While the month of December is hectic with holiday plans, it’s pretty much neck and neck with the month of May in my book.
You can imagine my shock when I realized that in NZ, the month of May and all of its madness happens at the exact same time as the December holiday time. Why? Because on Friday Dec 14th my kids are officially out of school for summer – until February.
So for the last several weeks we have been attending school fairs and school events, pool parties, end of year award dinners and prize days, while also trying to get Christmas shopping and decorating done.
It all came to a head the other day when Julien and Chloe left for school, biked to school, and then 20 minutes later showed back up on my doorstep with Julien in tears.
“Mom!” he yelled. “You forgot to give us a gold coin for the school donations”
[A gold coin meant a $1 or $2 coin for the canned-food drive. Or maybe it was the bake sale. I can’t remember.]
All I know is that he was crying his eyes out because he’d biked to and from school and he was madder than a hornet. I told him I was sorry and that I’d drive him to school.
That wasn’t good enough.
“But Mom! It’s your JOB to remember everything.” ….
Oh snap. No he didn’t. …
Even Chloe looked panicked that I would totally lose my you-know-what.
But I kept my cool (still pretty proud of that one,) and instead I asked him to help me go through the list of all the things we needed to remember right now, and finally at the end of the list, he conceded: “Yeah. That’s a lot of stuff to remember, Mom.”
These poor Moms in NZ, they are barely hanging in there. We’re all looking at one another asking how we’re doing & there are lots of discussions about getting together for wine or gin. “Once this is all over,” we all say.
And Christmas? No one seems to have started their Christmas shopping. Forget planning for summer vacation. It’s denial central around here, and I am right there with them.
The kids are out of school starting on Friday at noon and I have NO camps, no childcare, not a single plan. Between Jesse and I we will be manning the fort (btw, shouldn’t it be wo-man’ing the fort, just sayin’), trying to cover his work shifts and my work schedule with no interruptions from the kids. It will be brutal, but if there is one thing I’ve learned around here, it’s that you just have to chill out a little. So I’m going to try that.
In the mean time, it’s a little bittersweet to see the kids wrapping up school already. Lucas and Chloe are both graduating from their schools – Lucas will be headed to 8th grade at Boys’ High School in February, and Chloe will be headed to 7th grade at Campion (a local Catholic school,) in February. Only Julien will remain at Wainui Beach School to start 1st grade.
The teachers at their current schools have welcomed them with open arms, and each of the kids has made wonderful new friends and done extremely well. It was the shortest school year we’ve ever had, but that’s what happens when you land mid-way through the school year in the Southern Hemisphere!