Summer break begins in 2.5 days. And I am bi-polar about it. In year’s past, I have counted down the hours until the bell rang and my girls stayed in my possession for 11 straight weeks. (Not 12 because public school insists on keeping them into JUNE…for money I assume…let’s not get me started on that.) But this year I cannot make heads or tails of summer break. I cannot make a choice between my happy and my sad. And this is a conundrum.
My Happy: No waking up at 6:10am for exactly 77 days. And if someone dares speak the word “mom” “mommy” or “mama” before 8am and my first cup of coffee, so help me, I will ground you to the outside and babysitting. Sleep is still my happy place. I have not left teenagedom. Long live my bed.
My Sad: No 8:30pm bedtimes because my children are smarter than they used to be, and also it stays light outside until forever. So their eyes are never tired which makes their mouths work and whine so there really is no point in demanding an 8:30pm bedtime. I sucked at it during the school year too. So back to midnight we go because that is how our body clocks work around here. Except for Husband. He is asleep by 10pm. Cheater. Clearly.
My Happy: No packing school lunches. My brain wheels will not be forced to start grinding at ungodly hours remembering which child likes peanut butter and who prefers mayo with ham and which one likes mustard and turkey. I won’t have to think about which one likes cheese and who hates yogurt and the one with the red apples and the one who gets an itchy tongue from carrots. I won’t have to remember who can’t have peanut products in their classroom and which kid has taken a hiatus from bread. They can feed their very own faces, and if they starve that’s their own fault. I bought a house with a kitchen. They know where to find it. Also, I’m out of Ziplock bags and I don’t want to buy any more.
My Sad: We will graze our way through the day and by 8:45pm I will realize the children have only eaten crackers and fruit snacks and marshmallows. Then the mommy guilt will set in. I will demand that broccoli and itchy carrots be eaten before bed. With a side of corndog.
Happy: No more arguing about how many days a week they can buy hot lunch. No scrounging together change or entrusting them with big dollars in hopes that the money finds its way to the cafeteria. “Why would you make their lunches everyday if there is hot lunch at school?” you ask. Because hot lunch only SOUNDS affordable. Let’s do math:
Hot lunch = $2.20 (sounds cheap, doesn’t it?)
My School Children = 3
Hot lunch per day = $6.60
Hot lunch per week = $33.00
Hot lunch per month = $132.00 (not so cheap!)
“Well that’s not so bad,” you say! Except the children put roughly two things on their trays. And they eat exactly half of that. They then come home STARVING in which case I feed them all the things I would have put in their lunch boxes to begin with. This is not a win-win. It’s a vicious cycle that will gladly end when summer finds us.
Sad: There are no hot lunches waiting for my children at their various hungry times on the days that I forget to feed them or just don’t have a scrap of anything edible in this house which results in a trip to the grocery store followed by take-out for dinner because then it’s too tired out to cook.
Happy: Flip Flops. I should not even have to explain this bliss, but just in case someone doesn’t know: anyone who has seen my unfolded basket of socks will understand why I purchase 2 pairs of flip-flops for each child and ban every other shoe during summer. Flip flops are my jam.
Sad: Finding the flip flop match because one shoe is always lost. This is usually done in my car and the backyard.
Happy: NO HOMEWORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Because it’s 1,000x more painful for the parents than it is for the children!
Sad: There is no counter to No Homework. It is 100% a happy.
Happy: Endless hours of swimming, exhausting their little bodies while I occasionally sit on a lawn chair making my legs less translucent. This also knocks the midnight bedtime back to about 10:30pm. Also happy.
Sad: Wet towels and bathing suits. On all the floors. In all the rooms. At all the times. I loathe.
Happy: No parent pick-up lines to wait in at nap time. Happy Happy.
Sad: No where to leave them all day until nap time. Double sad.
Happy: Slushes and snow cones and popsicles that melt faster than you can eat them because Texas is H-O-T in the summer.
Sad: My electric bill because Texas is H-O-T in the summer.
Happy: Flexibility to go out of town on random Anydays to visit grandmas, the lake, museums, etc.
Sad: My kids are like: “ALLLLLLL my friends are going on VACATION this summer! They’re ALLLLLLLL going to Disney World and Hawaii and (insert most elaborate vacations you can think of) and we’re doing NOTHING!” And I’m like: “First of all WHO do you hang out with and what do their parents do because we need to consider a career change. Also, WE are going to do fun things too! We will be going BOWLING and to the YMCA and to the REDBOX, so take that Maui!”
My Happy: Reading. There are trips to the library and signings up for summer reading programs and books checked out that fill bags and bags and arms and arms. And I feel like a good mommy who supports literacy and I take pictures of said amazingness and post it on Facebook so all the people can “like” my impressiveness.
My Sad: 99.2% of those books do not get read because after the fun of the library we come home hot and exhausted and turn on a movie. And the books sit on the floor reminding me of my failed attempt at growing smarter children and then I accumulate late fees 2 weeks later when I forget to return the books.
Happy: Playdates and Slumber Parties!
Sad: Playdates and Slumber Parties.
Happy: Witnessing the bonds of sisterhood day in and day out.
Sad: Crying, whining, fighting, hair-pulling, shrieking, hitting, kicking, fit-throwing, tantrums. Because estrogen.
Happiest: Morning snuggles with sleepy girls, time to talk and chatter, the sound of life being lived to the fullest in my home, imaginary games played to their heart’s content. Road trips, house guests, forts, barbies, sprinklers, bicycles, neighborhood friends, dress-up, board games, baking, pedicures, bubbles, laughing, learning, relaxing.
Saddest: Growing. Growing makes me the saddest. I will be one summer closer to no more summers with my four girls. Summer means they are on the verge of the next grade, the next phase. Summer means they are getting bigger and time is passing. This is the #1 reason summer makes me sad.
So there you have it. This is my complicated confusion that is summer. I have no solution but to take it all in: the good and the bad, the happy and the sad. To soak in this time even if it threatens my sanity because 11 weeks isn’t long enough to make all the memories. But it’s long enough to make beautiful ones.