No Escape: Summer Break Edition
It’s here. The options for escape, narrow and tough to find. They vanished quickly if you were not fast enough. We will be swarmed relentlessly. Surrounded and closed in. Minutes seem like hours. Hours seem like days.
At the beginning we were bright eyed and bushy tailed. Naïveté. Sweet, foolish lady. We had plans and activities. So much room for activities. By the end, our reserves are depleted, we are weary.
May and June are filled with excitement. The finish line is here. No more lunches or homework or rushing out the door or calls from school nurses or pickups or drop-offs or projects. Freedom!
You have so many plans. You have events around your town bookmarked on your phone. ‘Top Twenty Things to Do with Your Kids this Summer!’ Kid’s painting on the promenade. Movies in the park. Museum events. Play dates. Squirt gun painting. Festivals all over your state. Blueberry picking, we are going to pick and eat blueberries.
A month goes by. We’re fine. We can do this. We aren’t that tired, yet. Surely, they’ll wear themselves out. How many times can they say “I’m bored?” How many YouTube videos of people opening toys can they watch?” We learn, there is no cap on these. How many times can they fight over the same toy? There is a whole room of toys. This is just a phase, an adjustment period.
Museum and zoo and beach trips will cure these issues. Adventure is out there! We’re going to explore the whole damn city.
We cover so much ground, it’s exhausting. We’re all sick of outings and adventures. It’s hot. They make us carry so many bags. So much sweat.
Ah, the sweet relief of escape. A three-week summer camp. Our break is well deserved, we are superstar moms. We imagine days of lounging quietly on the couch, eating grapes, watching shows. Out of the corner of our eye, we see it. An overflowing sink of dishes. Plans for sitting around flow down the drain. Collapsing on the couch again. Sweet relaxation. Small underwear on the couch, entangles on our feet. The sigh, and up we get, to gather up all the summer sweat laundry.
There is no relaxation.
Summer camp ends, wide eyed, we look around, “oh wait, me? I am in charge again? ALL day? And night! Ok, I can do this…Yes….Right?”
How many slime projects can one mom withstand?
How many smears of peanut butter can one mom find on her couch. The answer? It’s somewhere in the double digits.
How many “watch this moms?” can a mom’s eyes fixate on? “Wow the twentieth flip was as awesome as the first!”
How many fights can one mom referee before she lacks empathy entirely? “Figure it out kids, problem solve!”
Then the summer storms come. You’re all locked inside, together, boundless energy contained. It’s a powder keg. We start to panic. They sing their chorus of “mom mom mom mom mom mom mom mom” until we have to look in the mirror, checking for bleeding ears. They’re blood free, shockingly.
“Devices! The lot of you! Mommy needs a minute!”
We wonder, is there such a thing as too much family time?
Then you spot it, one leaf, tinged orange or red, just a small piece of it. Fall is approaching, we think or hope. Back-to-school ads pop up left and right, confirming your hypothesis, they will head back soon. The finish line is within eyesight.
We pause, slow motion amongst the chaos of messy floors, couch cushions disrupted, underwear left on lampshades and uncapped markers on carpets. The kids never stop moving or growing. Growing? They’ve grown so much this summer. Nothing fits, they’re bigger and a little older looking. Our hearts ache, our babies are another school year older. We interrupt their summer shenanigans and hug them close.
“Don’t grow! Don’t go!”
“Mommy, you’re weird.”
A burst of energy flows through us. Feeling desperate to keep them this little for another week or two.
“Hey, did you guys want to go to the spray park? A picnic outside? Sandwiches for dinner? Water gun fight, sure!”
Don’t go! We long for Fall to take its time arriving.