The school year is winding down and I have mixed emotions about it. On the one hand, I am excited to have all of my chickens home all day so that we can just relax and have fun. On the other hand, I know that my first hand is a big, fat, impossible lie.
I will definitely love the slower pace of summer. I am sooooo looking forward to not having to drive everyone to school each morning. I am craving the laid back intentionally “unplannedness” of our summer schedule. But this is not my first trip to the rodeo. I know that my visions of happy smiling kids rolling out of bed at 8:00, to get dressed for the day and make their beds before they joyfully skip down the stairs to pleasantly and politely ask for breakfast is never gonna happen. Let’s be real. The much more likely scenario is as follows. It will be 5:00 am for some of the kids (the ones that really shouldn’t be awake and unsupervised) they will leap from bed ripping clothes out of every drawer and throwing them around the room, ( probably throwing clean folded clothes into the hamper because, well, why not??) but never actually getting dressed for the day because they will be wailing that they have “NOTHING” to wear. You know, because the 800,976, 327 shirts in the drawer are not the one flourescent-yellow-covered-in-stains-smells-like-dog shirt that said child is looking for. Maybe because it is in the hamper because he has worn it for the last 4 days and you managed to steal it when he was in the shower last night and because you couldn’t light it on fire in the 7 minutes that your kid was standing in the shower not using soap and not washing his face or feet or any other gross and dirty body part, you settled on hiding it in the hamper under the smelly dirty clothes that you found on the floor of the bathroom 6 inches from the hamper from when the middle boys “cleaned” their room. (They obviously aren’t going to actually put them in the hamper…duh.) Anyway, the wild small child will wander down the hallway, wailing and gnashing his teeth because he can’t find anything to wear. You, unsuccessfully try to coax him into crawling in your bed so that you could maybe, possibly, PLEASE sleep until , oh I don’t know…6:00. Nope. Never gonna happen. So you bite the bullet and stumble out of bed. You blindly make your way to the kitchen where the magical coffee beans are waiting to infuse you with life. You throw some toast or cereal at the small child and they plop down in front of the TV. You stand there for a moment and debate over whether or not starting the day with Paw Patrol or UmiZoomi is really the best thing for you little guy and then you realize that while it might not be the best it is definitely going to buy you a few precious quiet moments to enjoy your coffee and maybe wake up a bit before the rest of the crew makes their way downstairs. And then you laugh at yourself for actually acting like you were ever not going to turn on cartoons. Silly Mommy.
You enjoy the peacefulness for a few minutes. You might even get in some prayer time or a rosary and then you hear it…the low rumble that signifies that they are waking up. They will emerge, sort of like the nasty 17 year cicadas that are taking over right now.
They will slowly make their way downstairs shedding their pjs much like the cicadas shed their skin leaving them wherever they may fall. They will eat whatever they see, their red eyes staring at you. You resist stepping on them and squishing them because, well… because you are a goodish mom. You just stay out of their way and let them do their thing. You cautiously back out of their way and escape to the upstairs, where you jump in the shower. You throw on some clothes, brush your teeth and maybe even a little mascara (if you are feeling extra fancy) and you are ready for the day.
Now begins the hardest part of the day…deciding what you are going to do. Is it a pool day? a trip to the library day? a we are not going anywhere kind of day? a we need to unearth the house from the clutter and crazy that has taken over sort of day? a make a trip to the grocery store for the 879th time this week because there is no food (again!) and it is turning into a Hunger Games meets the Lord of the Flies kind of situation? Or maybe the prozac has affected your judgement a little bit too much and you decide (insanely) that it is an ALL OF THE ABOVE kind of day??? You shake your head and clear away that nonsense immediately. You are a pro. That is a rookie mistake. Get your head in the game woman!! Your internal dialogue is starting to stress you out. You take a deep breath and walk down stairs to assess the situation. You can’t really make a decision until you feel out the kids, especially the preteen girls. Just keeping it real people. Those two can be the sweetest, most helpful little angel faces and then faster than the older boys can inhale a pizza, they turn into a medusa-like ball of hormones. The best thing to do in that case, is to avoid eye contact and back away slowly.
You walk into the living room and look around. They seem to be content. They look full, they are not killing each other, they are…smiling. Woah! It has all of the makings for a good day. Ok. We can do this. You know better than to ask the kids what they want to do. They will never agree and then nobody will be happy. Nope, it is up to you to decide. You weigh your options and make the call. You know that you will still end up with a few unhappy kids but that’s ok. It is what it is. The goal is to end up with happy or at least happyish kids. Happyish is totally acceptable.
And then the coffee finally hits and I remember a very important thing. I remember that I am their mom. I am not their tour guide. It is not my job to make sure that every second of their summer is planned and fun. It is my job to make sure that they have food and sunscreen. It is my job to make sure that they are reasonably clean and that they don’t kill one another. Our summer vacation is going to include everything that I previously said. It will have trips to the library to get books for the mandatory reading times. (Isaac is already complaining about that.) More books, less electronics! It will involve trips to the grocery store (a lot of trips). It will include cleaning. I will happily assign chores to kids. We are going to try out all of the local pools. We are on a mission to find a good ice cream place and a good playground. There will be bike riding and walks. There will be playing with the neighbor kids and rainy day movies. There will be tents and fires and smores. It will be a summer of scraped knees and popsicles. I am sure that it will also have a fair amount of complaining and fighting. You know what, whatever. Fight. Complain. Be bored. Summer vacation is all of this. Sunburns and ice cream. Staying up late and waking up early. Moms with mixed emotions and coffee. Bring it on.