Monday, September 7, 2015

Laboring Over the Schedule
Much as I love a three-day weekend, this extra day off isn't doing me any favors when it comes to establishing a routine. While it's always a challenge to transition out of the summer schedule (or lack thereof) and into a fall routine, this year has been especially interesting. This year, my daughter is a high school senior with a flexible schedule.

Most years, the biggest challenge I faced on school day mornings was dragging myself out of bed. This year, that challenge is all-but-removed three days a week. Now, if I want to get a jump on the day, the only thing (besides guilt) motivating me to get up is my alarm. Not good.

Two days a week, we're on a "normal" schedule -- the same one we've followed for the past three years. Three days a week, she and I both have to get out of the house around the same time -- a schedule we haven't followed since she was in middle school. Add to this the fact that the schedule changes every day (we have a MWF schedule and a TTh schedule), and things are just not falling into place -- at least not fast enough to suit me.

The funny thing is, I never really thought of myself as a routine-oriented person. But, since retirement reset every aspect of my life, I've gotten into the habit of tackling my to-dos in a particular way. It's not the same way every day, but the one constant element was a quiet house that allowed me to concentrate on whatever task I opted to tackle first. My husband, who's a morning person, is up and out early, and my daughter used to be not far behind. The delayed start three days a week is leaving me with a sort of topsy-turvy feeling that I know I should be appreciating (not the feeling itself, but, rather, its cause), but instead, I just feel off-kilter.

I know that patience is what's called for here. That by this time next month, we'll have settled into the new routine, which will last until the end of first my semester, then hers, only to be reset and re-created within new parameters. I know that this time next year, I'll long for time with her in the mornings, and maybe even miss the blasts of unrequested music that punctuate the air and puncture my thoughts. I know that I need to be less driven by the to-do list that nudges me forward once I'm out of bed, but doesn't succeed in shoving me out from under the covers in the first place.
I also know that knowing all of this is part of the problem.

So we'll power forward, trying to balance routine and flexibility, quiet time and musical interludes, new beginnings and impending endings. Meanwhile, I'll try to remember to be grateful for a kid I actually like having around in the mornings.

Even if she's messing up my schedule.

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