I love summer, and we’ve had a good run, but the fact that it’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon and my kids are six hours into their own personal “Good Luck Charlie” marathon makes me think that the heavy end is not just dragging, as the saying goes, it’s scraping the pavement and pulling up asphalt in its wake.
Someone needs to take charge and whip all these little minds and bodies back into shape, but I think that someone is a paid district employee awash with idealism and high on the smell of dry erase markers.
And not me.
Anyone but me.
Don’t get me wrong. Every year I have big plans for our summer schedule. We’ll have structure and organization. Order will reign.
In June, I printed off math worksheets and made chore charts. I thought up a summer bucket list filled with fun activities my kids and I could do together. We’d make our own slip ‘n’ slide using plastic sheeting from Home Depot. Visit every public swimming pool in the county. Plant a garden and cook the vegetables we grew, smugly congratulating ourselves on our family’s farm-to-table goodness.
And we did.
More or less.
Actually, I bought a slip ‘n’ slide at the store. But then I patched its tears with duct tape, which is like doing a craft, only smarter.
We didn’t hit every pool in the county, but I did let my daughter wear her swimsuit every day because, hey, it’s summer. Yesterday, a 4-year-old neighbor kid showed up at my door wearing only Batman underwear and swim goggles. I could get Lily dressed, but I feel like letting her roam the cul de sac with bird-nest hair and a filthy swimsuit is my way of showing solidarity with my neighbor. In our neck of the woods, wearing a shirt AND pants is considered black tie.
Farm to table? Check. I grew one very big zucchini. True, it’s been sitting on my counter for a week, all self-righteous and judge-y, but does anyone even cook in the summer? I have burned Kraft EASY Mac in the microwave twice in the past year by forgetting to add water. My kids and I agree: Cereal for dinner is best for all involved, most especially the microwave.
Truthfully, I’ve been OK with the break from rules and order and meal preparation using heat. Come fall, my kids may shout inappropriate comments during class. They may write their essays in crayon. But it’s been a nice change from the hustle and bustle of school.
In fact, it’s been a great thing. For the most part. For a while.
But now it’s pouring rain. And I’ve made every ridiculous Pinterest craft that my third-grade art abilities can handle. And even the baby refuses to do anything but watch “Good Luck Charlie,” which is weird because he’s a baby, and he can’t possibly understand the show’s “Look-I’m-raising-teenagers-and-toddlers” hilarity.
And me? Instead of actually parenting, I’ve been sitting here fantasizing about meeting the guy who invented Otter Pops. You know, those beloved-by-anyone-under-age-18 popsicles that drip from one end of the house to another and require a hand towel to eat?
In this daydream, I show up at the inventor’s house. It has white furniture and white wall-to-wall carpeting. And I’ve got with me a melty Strawberry Short Kook — yes, that’s really the red popsicle’s name — the kind I found dripping on my only nice piece of furniture the other day.
Then I pour the red Otter Pop directly onto his white carpet and scream: “Look what you’ve done! Just look what you’ve done!”
Sounds a little crazy, right?
All I can say is that I think there’s a normal, half-sane person inside me waiting to get out. And all it will take to release her is that sweet, sweet bell of freedom: The one that’s broadcast over the intercom, signaling that school is back in session.