Friday, May 14, 2010

What are You Doing This Summer?

I have been asked the same question lately from lots of different people. It’s a question I have grown to hate. Here it is:

"What are you doing this summer?"

I know that you’re just making conversation. Or you’re genuinely interested in what we’re up to. But would you like an honest answer? Because this is what I’m actually thinking when I smile and say “we’re still making plans”.

  • I’m going to be spending three long months trying not to lose my mind.
  • I’ll probably spend a lot of time fighting with my kids.
  • I will smell like sunblock all the time and yet still be sunburned.
  • I’ll be at the pool every day chasing around my younger children in an effort to keep them from drowning while my older daughter swims basically unsupervised which is totally unsafe but I'm able to justify because she is on the swim team again this year and therefore obviously knows how to swim a little.
  • Making every effort possible to keep their daily television viewing and Wii time to under 6 hours per day.
  • Trying to figure out how to send them to camps that are actually fun (and not glorified daycare staffed by dead-eyed teenagers who would rather be texting) but am concerned that affording such camps may require me to sell a kidney.
  • Teaching them to help me clean the house without whining. Probably to no avail as I have been married to their father for almost 13 years and he still doesn’t know how to clean a toilet. He says.
  • Starting each day optimistic that I will be awesome at being their mom, will teach them marvelous things and will spend lots of important quality time with them while keeping a clean and de-cluttered house.
  • Ending each day with a large glass of wine, in a filthy house, mentally reviewing a list of all the things I didn’t do, should have done differently and feel guilty/stupid about.
  • I have no fugging idea. It’s May. I know I have no time left. And every time some well-meaning person asks me this question I start to hyperventilate like I’m doing right now because I procrastinated and left it all too long and now we’re all screwed.
I’m pretty sure that’s not an answer they’re prepared for.

The truth is I am kind of looking forward to the summer. This week, I spent a wonderful ten minutes cuddling the baby and Hawk very early in the morning watching Curious George and sipping coffee and wishing it were summer so I wouldn’t have to get up and fuss at everyone to get dressed and eat breakfast and blah blah blah. School ends and the amount of turtle herding I am required to do is drastically reduced. Things are pretty hectic around here and I’m ready for them to sloooowwww down. Less to do and more time to do it in. That’s what we need. “Summer is nearly here,” I thought dreamily…

Oh snap.  May 14th.

“SUMMER IS NEARLY HERE!” I thought frantically. Furkitty furkwad. I have about 2,000 pages of paperwork to fill out and I still haven’t scheduled their physicals and I think I have just missed all of the earlybird deadlines. Awesome. Now it will cost an arm and a leg and a kidney. Lucky for me I have two. Also, there might not be any availability. Schmidt.

Why does it take a doctor’s visit, ten shots, a blood test, a criminal background check and a 23 page application to send a kid to T-Ball once a week? Add in the equipment and the ridiculously expensive uniform and (by my estimation) for each sport, camp or activity I sign my kids up for it costs at least $150 and five hours of my time (research, shopping, parent orientations, team meetings and craptastic paperwork). And some of these cults teams “strongly encourage” parent volunteering throughout the season.

You’re welcome, you little ingrates, for all the damn enrichment I inflict upon you.

I haven’t been totally worthless. I have managed to successfully do three things in anticipation of the summer:
  1. Sign up Hawk for preschool camp so that he and Thumbelina are in school through the end of June. Yes, the end of June. Thank you, Snowmageddon – you big, white, blizzardy bastard. I tip my hat to you.
  2. Get pool passes. Because the pool still opens Memorial Day weekend even though the kids are in school until the end of June. Do you have any idea what that means for me? That means I can hire a babysitter for the baby’s naptime and then go sit by the pool all by myself with a Starbucks and People magazine every day swim laps for an hour for the whole month. Just need to find a babysitter. Too bad for me they’re all in High School until the end of June.
  3. Sign up for swim team. How did I get this done? Possibly because every single day, several times a day, Thumbelina asked: “Have you signed me up for swim team yet? Have you have you have you HAAAAVVVEEE YOOOUUU?!” 
We are going to see Meemaw at the Farm Farm Farmitty Farm for 4th of July. So that puts us into the second week of July before we start to get desperate. And our annual family vacation is the second week of August. Third week of August is VBS at our church and I am supposed to be teaching this year. Then it’s the last week before school starts which always flies by with me running around like a lunatic and the Cap'n barking that we're spending too much money and then they’re back in school and life goes back to normal.

Quick sidebar – I was supposed to be teaching a five session bible study of… wait for it… THE TWILIGHT SAGA. For teenage girls. Which is good because God knows teenage girls need to hear somebody tell them that Bella really needs to grow a pair and stop dithering and that Edward's behavior is stalkery and weird. But then so many moms told me they wanted to come too that it’s now “intergenerational”. Because more moms than teenagers are obsessed with Twilight. That is hilarious to me.

Back to summer planning. When I realized that I only had a month to fill, I felt a little better. Like I said, if all the good camps and lessons are full I can always draw upon my deep reservoir of knowledge about free fun. Playgrounds, hiking, library, museums, playing in the sprinkler with the neighbor kids.… I can make this work. Sure I can. And we can do workbooks so they’ll retain all they learned in school this year and not show up in September like a couple of blumpkins who can only talk about Phinneas and Ferb. We can do art projects! Hawk can take the training wheels off his bike! We can bake cookies make healthy snacks together! It’ll be great!

Who I am kidding, there’s about a fifty percent chance that it’ll be great and a fifty percent chance that it’ll be a gigantic cluster of not fun or enriching in the slightest. But to be honest, I think I’m ok with those odds. That’s pretty much all the time around here. If every other day this summer is great – then I’m doing fine. I feel better. I’m glad we had this talk.

The next time someone asks me what we’re doing this summer, I won’t even flinch or feel my blood pressure rise. I’ll probably say:

“It depends on if I ever get my schmidt together and get around to calling places and filling out applications. Possibly nothing. Maybe kickin’ it old school. Maybe kickin’ it pre-school. Doing tons of stuff while spending no money because I am the queen of free fun so can I get a WOOT?!”

Then they will look at me with concern and pity (I actually get that a lot) and be totally sorry they even asked. So that’s even awesomer.

What are you snitches doing this summer?

xo, Lydia

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