Friday, June 17, 2011 • 6:58 AM Comments ()


posted by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

If misery loves company, we were a companionable crew yesterday. Take one papa with an ear infection, one mama with a sty that will not budge, and one just-turned teenager with an aversion to transitions (school year ending) then toss in a less-than-sleeping-easily three year-old—and two more not terribly miserable young people. What have you got? Our house on a Thursday in June, that’s what.

We are, no doubt, as any family with people in school is, in a time of flux. The school year’s close does that. For the seventh grader, this is always tough. Like Nate the Great, he decided that hard times warranted pancakes (blueberry). And promised to clean up. And didn’t. Thus pitching 1) a fit, 2) a series of unfortunate encounters with parents and siblings. Things got marginally better when I named the end-of-year issue.

Kitchen cleaning seems a ways into his future. Cooking projects are on hold for a week, declares the mama. She predicts a long week ahead with loads of grumbling.

The now rising third grader remains unhappy about the impending new school. He’s drinking in almost every moment of the three-week camp-at-school experience his school offers to bridge the gap between its early close and other schools finishing up. His mood, though, is pretty cheering. He even asked a question about his new school and didn’t immediately follow it up with, “are you sure I can’t get you to change your mind and let me go back to my old school?”

For once subscribing to the less-is-more camp successfully, I have not been bringing the school change issue up. The new school year, after all, is kind of far away.

And not to be outdone, Saskia just spent her last morning in the Younger Group yesterday. Next week, she’ll be a Middle Group gal. She’s spent nearly two years in the Younger Group (since she was the tiniest one in the class) and so this transition across the hall, it’s a thing. She sounds ready, though. She knows she’s going with friends—she made an across the hall gesture—“over there.”


In the midst of this, I thought to myself about how as a culture we don’t factor in moods all that much. You can have a blue day—and it can just be that.

It’s taken me a lot of years not to be terrified by blue days. Melancholy—I felt it fleetingly, just taking in some warm late day sun and breeze driving along yesterday evening, a kind of nostalgic sensory memory of a much harder summer a long, long, long time ago, but I knew that’s what I recalled—it’s part of life, like everything else.

In my quest for some sleep and a little less much-ness in our household this summer, I’m going to try to remember that things like melancholy (not one but two teenagers, remember?) and boredom have their place in life. Rather than fear these things or fight them, I’m going to try to let them in.


Sleep, you wonder? It seemed impossible that in the midst of one refusing to sleep and another melting down I might get to sleep, but I simply forged my way toward bed and climbed in. By then, the eight year-old was asleep on the floor, the three year-old in her room (thanks, in the end to her papa’s patient assistance) and so the moody young teen climbed into bed with me and we both conked out. The ninth grader went to bed at ten! The papa nodded off after the rest of us.

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