My daughters, last month, when I still liked them.
Usually I reach this stage in the summer vacation near the end of August but this year I am ahead of the game. I'm at that stage when I'm wondering when school starts. As I type this, my daughters are having a raging fight over who lost the black leggings which the oldest daughter HAS to wear to camp tomorrow for their "Favorite Decade Day" Christ, who invents these things? Like we don't have enough of this crap during the school year when my kids seem to constantly remember on a Sunday night that they need something for a school project the next day like poster boards, and hot glue guns, and weapons grade plutonium.
You might say my kids are kind of crowding me these days. They're in my personal space. They're all up in my grill. Last week one of them stepped on the back of my flip-flop. Again. I turned and said between clenched teeth, "Would you all PLEASE stop stepping on my flip-flops?" Do you know how close you have to be walking behind someone to step on their flip-flop?
I'm not the only one feeling this way. When I brought the subject up at coffee ( I escaped from the buggers for a whole hour last week) Coffee Friend 1 agreed that she too was feeling a little cramped by having her four kids follow her everywhere. "One of them stepped on my flip-flop and it actually broke," she said. "And I want to know which parent started the email that's going around asking for a longer summer vacation." She was starting to rant a little. Her youngest looked up from the strawberry-playdough creation she was eating, amused as her mommy got hot, "I mean who the fuh wants these little bastards around one more day than they already are!"
Exactly. Yesterday, while driving my progeny around in the shuttle bus, I mean mini-van, the youngest and the oldest started bickering like my grandparents. Pushing buttons, annoying the crap out of each other, and getting louder and louder until finally, I slammed the car into park and said under my breath, "Get. Out. Of. My. Car."
To their credit, they did not argue or protest. They simply got out of the car and started to walk the few blocks home, resuming their bickering and annoying each other all the way.
I wasn't always this way. I used to love summer vacation. I mean, I still love summer vacation, but I used to love nearly all of it, not just the first six weeks. But alas, the kids get older and nature takes over. It isn't right to want to spend as much time with your 14-year-old son as you did when he was a 3-year-old. So nature turns that delightful little boy who adored you into a snarling sarcastic beast who rolls his eyes a lot. And the mommy who used to cuddle and take him on errands now kicks his sorry ass out of the minivan. Ah, the circle of life. We're right on schedule for a touching goodbye when he goes to college that should look like this--Me: Don't let the door hit you in the ass, Him: Up yours old lady.
When we took that long trip to Italy a few years back the kids got desperately homesick in the middle of it. I explained that when you travel, you will have bad days but on balance it will all be worth it. And it was. They got over their homesickness and we had a fabulous vacation. I'm hoping the same applies to summer vacation and that this too shall pass and we can enjoy the back end of our vacation as much as we enjoyed the front end.
So, here's to the dog days of summer. It's hot as hell and the cicadas are singing. My kids are arguing and I'm looking a little frantically at the calendar.