I’m so glad I ran into you over the last box of nut-free granola clusters. No, please, you go ahead and take it—I’ll make some from scratch at home later. It’s for the snack table at my Emotional Labor Day Barbecue.

Please come. There’s absolutely nothing you need to bring other than yourselves.

The festivities will begin at 3:15 on Sunday. I know that’s the day before Labor Day, but Emotional Labor Day is actually Every Single Day. We picked Sunday because that’s also when all the planning for school and swimming and childcare and ballet and checkups happens.

And by “happens,” I mean that is when we do it. And by “we,” I mean “I.” But “we” sounds better because it makes other people feel like they’re helping, even when I am handling literally every detail, including that one. And with a smile on my face. A big one, as if it’s hooked onto my ears to keep my face from collapsing into despair.

But we don’t despair. We have too much to do.

Anyway, the barbecue’s at 3:15 because soccer got rescheduled to Sunday after the coach came down with the flu—I sent a cookie basket—but that should be wrapped up by around 2, which gives me just enough time to drive everyone, dash to the store for ice, carve two watermelons into “fun” patterns, make sure we have enough paper plates and plastic flatware and at least three big trash bins, put out the cornhole set for the kids, get the mosquito repellant—

Phew. At least I won’t have to handle the grill.

I mean, I’ll prepare everything, of course. The burgers, the chicken, the giant portobello mushrooms, and a single free-trade farro-based patty for me because I had a terrible stomachache the last time I ate something with flavor.

My doctor says it’s because the antacids I take for my anxious indigestion soaked up all my stomach juices. Now my tummy is a leaden, solid thing, like a cement mixer that sat still too long.

Not that I ever have time to sit still, ha ha.

You probably didn’t know I was uncomfortable, though. Because I keep on shopping, and taking the kids to the playground, and getting everyone home in time for baths and toothbrushing. With four different varieties of toothpaste—one for each kid, and one for my husband.

What kind of toothpaste do I use? Oh, it doesn’t matter. Whatever’s not crustily adhered to the bathroom sink is good enough for me. (And then I clean the bathroom sink.)

The bathroom will be spotless for the barbecue, by the way. The whole house will be. I’m taking off work for a day just to clean.

I mean, not off-off. I’ll still be taking calls and answering emails and hopping onto Zoom, but I’ll be doing it while wearing rubber gloves and a kerchief over my hair like Rosie the Riveter.

We can do it! Right?

Yeah, I’m just talking about me again.

I so hope you’ll come and put your feet up. At least someone should. I hope everyone does. Everyone but me, that is. I’ll be orchestrating more plans than a conductor, not that anyone calls me Maestro. They just call me Mom. They call and call and call me that all day long.

They’re calling me right now even. Hollering, in fact.

Sounds like someone had an accident in the pickle aisle. It’s okay—I’ll go clean it up, get the manager, provide our insurance information, schedule an urgent care visit to look at my kid’s cut finger, and wrap up the lacerations I’ll definitely sustain with an old cocktail napkin from the bottom of my purse. And then I’ll haul everyone home and get started on everything else I have to do.

Hope to see you on Sunday. Have a Happy Emotional Labor Day either way. It’s the most organized, least-appreciated holiday ever. But at least we can get together and celebrate with some cake, right? Just as soon as I can find time to bake it.