The pool turned green. The grass turned yellow in blotches. We needed an extra blanket on our beds. It was inevitable. Summer 2010 was beginning its decent.
Summer is a bit like Christmas. Anticipation is exciting. You make plans and try to pack every moment full of seasonal festivities. You try to balance work vacations with childcare registrations. You never have the budget or the freedom to chill out quite as you envisioned it. The weekends fill up before you even unpack your summer shorts. There are treasured moments, laughter, a few awesome sunsets and starlit skies and then poof, its gone again.
Before I could adopt a melancholy sentiment that summer was over too fast, I heard the most beautiful sentence ever spoken from the mouths of my own children, in unison even: “I cannot wait for school to start.”
Hallelujah. I checked their pulses. Alive. I scanned their eyes up close. They blinked. No dilated pupils. Surely, my kids had disappeared and been replaced by replicas of dream children. I asked the facsimiles about facts only my children would know: birth dates, Christmas wish lists, and trivia about horrible shows on Family Channel. They sounded like my children. I looked behind their ears for signs of alien implants. No scars. Something wasn’t right here. Surely my children were not willing, eager even, for school to begin.
Perhaps it was heat-stroke. I checked my own heart rate. Breathing? Affirmative. I investigated my surroundings. Maybe this wasn’t my house; this was not my family. Maybe I was in some bizarre altered universe. But then I tripped on a flip flop, got a ball of dog fur stuck on my heel, sticky from the juice spilled and left to dry on the mock-wood floor, and groaned an inappropriate remark under my breath as a kitten attempted to climb my bare (and unshaven) leg with her sharp claws.
This was my house. This was my life. The juice was left by the boy with the green eyes who figured dried juice was invisible, so I’d never figure it out. The flip flop belonged to the girl who bore a strong resemblance to me at age ten, who was now lying face down on the couch watching a television show about a teenage starlet with a blonde wig and her wannabe famous Dad, played by a teenage starlet in a blonde wig and her wannabe famous again Dad. Life really was imitating art. And I really needed to vacuum.
The children, or summer sloths, as I refer to them, were bored. The Carpenter and I had agreed to a summer working around our home. We stuck to the plan. There were no camps, no faraway trips or luxury stays in lodges. Instead we made mini-adventures when we could, close to home. It was great. But the harsh reality was we stayed home, which is boring for those who do not comprehend the value of home equity.
Boring? Maybe, but I see summer 2010 as a huge Mommyhood success. I managed to do the unthinkable. I succeeded in making my children so miserable in their own freedom from routine and homework, and so destitute in their lazy comforts, that they want to return to their academic institution five days a week.
I am good. I am really just that good.