You saunter in looking all pretty and sunshiney, all fresh cut grassy with flowers blooming everywhere, but behind your back you’re toting yards and yards of rope that you will use to hogtie, hamstring, and incapacitate us, so that by the time you leave, we are deranged and disheveled.

I don’t like you, May.

We think when you arrive we can celebrate surviving another school year. We forget EVERY DAMN YEAR that you have 2,013 more obligations for us. There are the end of year choral concerts (my personal favorite was when 9 schools performed in one night), the end of year plays (you feel pressure to attend all five performances like the really good parents, but don’t because you have a job and stuff).

A word about end of year major school projects. Yes, we’ve known about them for a long time. The problem is we don’t give a crap anymore, which makes coordinating a meet up between four families for a donation drop off super fun (make that EIGHT families after my son brings home another scrap of paper with random phone numbers scribbled on it).

No, I will not purchase any more markers/glue sticks/poster board, so help me God, and I will ground you if you ask again. This edict is reflected in a project using dried up markers, blue glitter glue, and copy paper, because it’s what we have. “We were lucky to have a pencil growing up, so stop whining that it looks bad.”

You are sneaky, May.

I never prepare for you. I should treat you like Christmas or Thanksgiving or Easter or the kids’ birthdays. I know they’re coming, so I put thought and planning into getting ready for them. You? You hide behind your perfect weather, your little downcast daisy eyes blinking, “Who me? I’m just a sweet little month, the last full month of wonderful Spring.” 

Sweet, my a–.  You stand between us and summer like a hulking, massive, muddy hill we are forced to climb. In church clothes. With smiles on our faces.

Just last week I saw a mother at a school event and we looked at each other and the only thing I said was, “May.” Then we exchanged a knowing nod (to be clear, ‘May’ was said with the same tone I use for the most blow out of the four letter words). We both looked like crap, because you pull us in 20 different directions and make us so tired that putting on lip gloss or brushing our hair are things we will resume in June.

I’m calling Mayday on this ridiculousness. You heard me. Mayday. What a perfect word to go with this insane month. I looked it up and ‘Mayday got its start as an international distress call in 1923. It was the idea of Frederick Mockford,  a senior radio officer in London. He came up with the idea for “mayday” because it sounded like the French word m’aider, which means “help me.”‘
How perfect is that, my pretties? All this time there has been a word for what we go through, and while Mister Mockford liked it because it sounded French, maybe he had a Mrs. Mockford who was helping their child with a homelessness project by dragging 200 pounds of canned goods out of the school in a work dress and high heels. No? Oh yeah, that may have been me. Anyway, I’m sure Mrs. Mockford would agree, that instead of stockpiling wine for Maypocalypse, or picking pointless fights with bewildered husbands who search their brains trying to remember what they did wrong, we just simply say, “Mayday.”
 Husband: Why are you screaming at everyone?
Me: Mayday.
**husband’s face relaxes as he nods, with deep empathy**
 Husband: Why are you burning the childrens’ backpacks and lunch boxes in the backyard?
Me: Mayday.
** husband nods and leaves to go get the fire extinguisher out of the closet**
 Husband: Why is Thomas Jefferson glued to copy paper with blue glitter glue gushing out the sides?
Me: Mayday.
**husband walks to refrigerator to get me a glass of wine**
 ***The husband reactions are merely STRONGLY encouraged suggestions.
So, here we sit, May. This week we have graduation, multiple end of year parties, gifts for hugely deserving teachers and support staff, and tryouts for elite hockey — all before Friday.
* I know I’m lucky that I have the time and energy and good luck to whine about something as benign as a month on the calendar. It still won’t stop me from whining about it. 





Posted in Off the Air Tagged with: , , , ,
5 comments on “Mayday
  1. charles says:

    Well written and aptly described.

  2. Carol Elaine Shirley says:

    summed up nicely for our household too.

  3. Cecelia (Cil) Burrows says:

    Wonderful said!!! Although I am past that era, which was chaotic enough, I know things today are insane!!!! God Bless You Mother’s (& Dad’s) that pull it off.
    Beware, past the point of Parenthood, the world has now stepped into the Retirement stage, trying to pack your every minute with some task or activity!
    Hang in there
    Love your “stories”!!!

  4. Susan Euart says:

    All I’ve got to say is AMEN!!! Just AMEN!!!

  5. Phyllis Scott says:

    Yes! There is finally a name for this horror! I used to look forward to the Spring part of May, while simultaneously dreading what I knew the school system was going to heap on our family. Even though my youngest graduated high school 4 years ago, I instantly recognize this unease in younger mothers. Thanks Jaye for putting a name on it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *