Happy Monday! It’s the first official morning of summer in my house, and I may or may not have slept until 10:00 a.m. because
- My kids are teenagers and sleep longer than I do (or if they wake up are immediately consumed with finishing whatever Netflix show they fell asleep to at 2 a.m.)
- I kicked my husband to the couch last night for his violation of repeatedly waking me up at 3 a.m. with his snoring, and for the first time in a week I slept through the night
- I didn’t set an alarm clock, because summer (duh)
- Sleeping in to me, when I can, is right up there with breathing, flat-irons, and a glass of wine at 6 pm: Necessary for life.
Pick one or pick them all, and you’ll be a winner.
Anyway, this morning I find myself tired. Shut up, let me explain.
My brain is tired. It could be because it’s suffering from PTSD from the the past few weeks (i.e., graduation and all the feels); it could be that the coming weeks are jam-packed with tech week and a three performances for a show Thing 2 is in and out-of-town company to clean for and plan meals for (this week), and packing and making the road trip to the new University for four days of orientation (next) and all the extra feels that is already starting to create.
So forgive me for pulling out an oldie, but in my defense, it is timely.
The following post was originally published on May 30, 2013, but every word still rings true (except for the 84 days part because it’s now June 9 and also because Thing 1 has to leave for college at the end of August.)
I don’t even want to count how many days until this one is over.
In six days school will be out and I’ll have my girls home all day, every day, for 84 days.
Seriously, other than not being able to lie about how many naps I really take or how much time I spend daily on Facebook and Twitter and EW.com and HuffPostCelebrity and E!Online and People.com, I am super excited.
I mean it.
I’m not lying.
Super Excited for all that togetherness she says as she uncorks the first of many, many bottles of wine.
Because when I say 84 days, I mean eighty-four days.
No camps, no lessons, no trips to far away places.
That’s a lot of togetherness — and that’s a typical summer for us.
I should be committed.
But before you call the insane asylum and reserve a spot for me, let me present my case for the defense.
I spend every day from the end of August to the first week of June as a slave to the Things’ schedules: Lessons, rehearsals, concerts, plays, retreats, conferences and other school programs, not to mention all the things they do with their friends that I have to drive them to/pick them up from…or host.
Um, but isn’t that all just part of being a parent? you ask.
Certainly, but when June rolls around, I’m ready to be a little bit selfish.
It’s my summer too, dammit.
And guess what? I want to sleep in! I want to have nothing on my schedule and nowhere I have to drive someone! I want to go to my little cabin for a long weekend, and if the weather forecast looks great, be able to stay through the following week! So yeah, it may sound selfish, but I deserve to have a say in how I spend my summer — and I say I want a break, and I want my kids to have one too.
A real summer break.
Not many kids these days will ever know the types of summer vacations we spent as kids. And by “we”, I mean those of us who were kids back in the day where summer meant hours of roaming the neighborhood barefoot with a friend or two, maybe walking down to the corner gas station for a pack of Bubble Yum or the 7-11 for a slurpee. It meant long car trips with your family when the only thing you had to do to pass the time was sleep, read a real book, or play car bingo or ‘slug-bug’. It meant sleepovers with board games and mad libs and crank-calling the neighbors, and maybe some good videos on MTV if you were lucky.
And just because my kids aren’t enrolled in camp doesn’t mean they’ll be roaming the streets barefoot (much) or playing “Mousetrap”with their friends (although now that I think about it, I’m totally digging around and finding that game); they’ll spend an unreasonable amount of time staring at a screen of some size every day, I’m quite certain. (There’s also some super fun things on Thing 1’s calendar like writing college application essays and more college visits and continued volunteer work and senior pictures and getting her wisdom teeth out.) And there’ll certainly be days where they’ll be bored and have to figure out something to do to kill the time when I tell them “screens off”. And after grumbling at me for a bit, they will.
They’ll read tons of books, write stories, make movies, ride their bikes, swim and go tubing and hang out with friends.
They’ll stay up too late watching movies and sleep until 10 if they want.
They’ll have other campless friends who’ll come over in the morning and not leave for a day or two.
They’ll have three months to relax.
And so will I.
And in all honesty, I really am super excited about almost every one of those 84 days.
It helps, of course, that my girls are great friends and truly enjoy hanging out with each other, and also (thankfully) with me. We genuinely have fun doing stuff together, unless it includes me gritching at them to clean up their piles of crap (then they’re not my favorites, and I’m certainly not theirs). And sure, there will be days where one of us will be in a foul mood and be a real bitch to the other two (take your pick) and days where we have cabin fever (literally) and need to escape.
But I think there’s value in that.
Teaching them to slow down, to figure out how to make their own fun, to coexist – peacefully – with each other and others, and how to escape when necessary is just as important — maybe even more so — than keeping them so busy they don’t have time to just be.
Listen, I get that there’s kids who need more structure and spending three months without it would lead to all kinds of trouble (I used to teach quite a few of them). I understand there’s kids whose soccer or football career depends on the two week camp in the middle of August, or ones who truly love escaping to sleep-away camp for a month. And I know that many parents work and don’t get a summer vacation. I get it. I do.
But this isn’t about their 84 days.
It’s about mine.
It’s about my girls’.
And we’re ready.
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