Summer is a lie.
There, I said it. As a child I was raised to believe that Summer was the vacation from the real world. When you were able to break free from the shackles of pencils, books, and teacher’s dirty looks and run both free and amok at the same time. They never tell you how fleeting that feeling is. Well, sure, you’re grandpa probably said something along the lines of “Oh, to be young….Enjoy it while you can…”, but he also used words like “moxie” and called movies “pictures” so you paid little attention to it.
Then time marches on. You grow up, you get married, you decide that your marriage is a smoldering dumpster fire, you get married again, you have kids (That’s the natural progression, right?). Before you know it, your munchkins are in school with their own pencils, books, and rounded safety scissors provided by teachers that are no longer legally allowed to give dirty looks. Then June comes rolling along and all that pent-up energy that they’ve stored up being forced to sit still for hours at a time is let loose on the public in the annual tradition of Summer Vacation. Hey parent! Be afraid, be very afraid. RIP any amount of free time you found yourself in your normal routine.
No school equals no immediate reason for the kids to wake up. “Sleep in, get some rest, we had a lot of fun today, stayed up later than we should have”. This is my nightly plea to my children as I tuck them in. Yet, like clockwork, the summer sun rises earlier than I’d like, flooding their rooms with light as if their windows were just caught attempting a prison break.
I understand that seasons are different in other parts of the world which makes me think that I’m living in the wrong area (Although I have become quite accustomed to my toilets flushing in a counter-clockwise direction…just seems right). And, sure, I could invest in blackout curtains but, I ask, have you ever entered a children’s room with blackout curtains? Unless you flip on the lights you have guaranteed yourself a Lego-impaled foot and a literal trip into the void granted by free-range dirty clothes.
So, kids are now awake at the crack of dawn and already they are bored out of their minds. It’s a different day and age than when I was a kid (Is this where I start using the word “moxie” for myself and complaining about kids running on my lawn?). It is no longer appropriate to let your kids rule the neighborhood with their friends, getting into mischief with only the promise of being home by dinner time. Now, parents need a day-by-day syllabus outlining the activities for the day. We have a general routine for the day which includes reading time, arts/crafts time, and “quick clean-up time so when Mom gets home she doesn’t immediately turn around and run away from our Hoarders starter kit” time. “Keep them entertained enough that they don’t start fighting” is my daily goal. My role has essentially been reduced to a mixture of camp counselor and prison guard (A lot of prison references so far. Is it obvious that I’m watching Orange is the New Black now?).
The good news is that I like these inmates. My life behind a desk was rarely as entertaining as it is portrayed in Wolf of Wall Street. Not once did we ever throw any little people. Shame. I traded in my summer commutes for days at the park, watching my little goobers make hour-long friendships. I get to witness them create games out of thin air like tiny magicians and then create rules that guarantee their victory. I get to watch my dopplegangers grow and become their own little people. That is my freedom.