June 3, 2016. That is the date this year of my “Independence Day”. Well, sort of. That is the day I no longer receive a minimum of six emails a day pertaining to something going on with one of my children’s classes or school activities. That is the day I do not have to set my alarm every morning to wake me up at an hour humans should not be moving around unless they work on a farm. That is the day I do not have a pile of twenty or more papers that are either old assignments, new assignments, important notes home, permission slips, or unwanted art projects, and I quickly forget which is which until, inevitably, tomorrow’s math paper ends up in the recycling and we spend a half hour searching for it until we realize where it must be. That is the day I do not have to come up with clever ideas for portable lunches that all my kids will actually eat. That is the day I have a few months’ reprieve from my stomach turning over any time I get a phone call from a school between 7:30 am and 3:30 pm. That’s the day my kids stop complaining about their horrible uniforms, and not being able to wear nail polish, or dye their hair cool colors since those are all rules at their schools.
Yes, I am as joyful as my children when that last bell rings on the last day of school before summer vacation. I always imagine what my luxuriously relaxing summer will be like. Afternoons spent lounging by the pool with a good book and not a care in the world. Evenings sitting in the yard sipping homemade lemonade and chatting the hours away. Spontaneous trips to the park or the zoo or even out of town for an adventure or to visit with family. Kind children who quietly let me sleep in while they watch a little tv or play on the computer until the summer “no electronics” rule goes into effect between 10 am and 6 pm every day. Cookouts in the back yard and drive-in movies, festivals and peace. Ah, the peace.
It usually takes me about 24 hours before reality bites me in the backside. Here’s what my summer will actually be like: My children will be up fighting over who gets the tv and the computer at 7 am each day, and they will ignore the dogs who will be outside barking their heads off at every car that passes our house on the way to work. They will complain every day about the electronics rule. And they will be bored. And they will claim we don’t have anything to eat in the house. And they will want to go six different places at the same time when my husband is at work, leaving me to make it all happen. My house will be a constant wreck because the kids will be in lazy summer mode and won’t want to do anything that isn’t considered fun, because throwing away a hot pocket wrapper is such a burden.
I am directing a play, so I will be in rehearsals until late into the evening for half the month of June, and the stress of directing a play, especially one with twenty three teenagers in it, is a little on the high side. My son is taking some summer courses, so someone has to get him to school by 8 am, and pick him up by 2:15 every, single weekday for four weeks. My oldest daughter and son will likely have jobs, so my ability to bribe them into driving kids around for me will be limited. Two of my sons are going to camps on different weeks, so we’ll need to prep for that. We’re taking a week-long trip this summer which is very exciting, but have you ever tried to pack for eight people to fly somewhere for more than a couple of days with only two suitcase, not to mention planning the itinerary, buying tickets and making reservations, and taking care of all the household business that needs attention while you are gone? My daughter is graduating from high school this month, so we will likely be having a huge party with lots of out of town guests sometime before she leaves for college in August, and that means cleaning. A LOT of cleaning. And prep work. And shopping. And before I know it I will be moving two kids out of the house and into dorms before I know it, and summer will have officially come to an end.
Despite all the chaos that is before me, I will hold onto my dreams of an amazing, laid back summer. There will be days when my dreams will come true and I will have quiet, and calm, and nowhere particular to be. I will have my lazy pool days and my backyard dinners and trips to the park. They may be few and far between, but, by golly, I’ll take what I can get.