...and school comes along just to end it
My boys start school on Wednesday. In fact, later today, we'll be taking both of them to their respective schools (after blindfolding them, spinning them around in a circle 30 times, then driving away like we're high-tailing it from a heist, all while cackling "Good luck finding yer way home now, sucka!") to meet their teachers, practice locker combinations, and deposit rainbow-hued pocket folders and pencils sharpened to glinty points as fine as those on a mythical unicorn's horn (or makeshift prison shivs)(middle school can be rough!), which is perfect, for that makes this all seem like a wonderful fairy tale, and I think for many parents, the end of summer and the return to school is just that. We've kissed our handsome prince in the form of our child's seventh grade advisory teacher and danced through the halls singing of how one day, we knew this time would come.
However, I must make a wee confession - I'm not exactly thrilled that the time I've spent with my boys this summer has reached this conclusion.
If you've been playing along here, you know that when school ended in early June, I declared this "The Summer Vacation Where I Don't Tell The Boys No!" (alternate, far shorter, 'Why didn't I think of that?!' title - "The Summer of Yes!"), and I'm proud to say that, despite some perilous thoughts that attempted to worm their way through my central cortex - most specifically the voice of wisdom that tried to warn me within the first week of this affirming experience that taking a trip down Slip-n-Slide Junction may not be wise - it's been an amazingly fantastic summer! To quote Ric Ocasek - music's poetic Jack Skellington - and his cohorts, the Cars, summer, summer, summer! It's like a merry-go-round!
In this rapid-fire Summer of Yes, the boys and I have enjoyed several picnics and exploratory haunts to parks far beyond the boundaries of those in our town. We've been bowling, rock wall climbing, and arcade going. I've said yes to more donuts for breakfast than I can ever imagine, which means I must definitely say yes again to my workouts. We've also visited the zoo - where I touched a vulture - the science center - where I held a snake (thus capping off my previously unknown desire to live each moment as though I was cast in an 80s heavy metal music video), and the library - where we checked out books my boys ultimately never touched (thus, my 80s heavy mental music video is for a song titled 'Brain Drain').
Because my boys don't like to play the type of games I like, such as "Hey! Let's Sleep In Late Today!" or "Wow! I'm So Tired! Let's Take A Nap! (the person who yawns the most or the widest wins!)(reigning champion right here, friends), I ended up playing a lot of board games with the boys. In case you need a Clue, Guess Who? loathes board games? This girl. Sorry! But I guess that's Life. Them's just the Apples to Apples, I guess. In an effort to shut game play down quickly, though, I often claimed a Monopoly on the day (it was part of my Stratego), so we could move on to something else. It was often worth the Risk, because more often than not, we moved onto baking or craft projects, and while those may sound worse than playing board games, I assure you, they weren't, because when have you ever enjoyed delicious, fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies or a firecracker hand-crafted from an empty Pringles can, some paint, kitty litter, and pipe cleaners after a few rounds of Boggle? I'd venture to guess never.
Despite my protests (which were so quiet as to almost be considered silent) there were a few points during The Summer of Yes! when I didn't have to be the cruise director of this ship. Tool Man took the boys for a long weekend of cave exploration, museum haunting, and frog touching (snakes and vultures, yes, apparently, but frogs? there's a line I just won't cross), leaving me home alone to enjoy the silence. Also, when my Mom morphed into someone I didn't recognize and actually offered to have the boys spend several days and nights at her house last month, I screamed yes so loudly I quite nearly terrified the lot of them. Sure, I love my kids, but those few days of respite meant not having the doorbell or the telephone ring constantly with the hopeful inquiries of my boys' friends on the other side, and they refreshed me for the waning days of summer I still had with them.
So, to sum up, I am quite honestly sad to see The Summer of Yes! drawing to a close, successful and exhausting as it may have been. Perhaps that sentiment is bolstered by the fact that, when I announced this goal 12 weeks ago, so many of you offered to pray - or drink - for me. Heck, I even offered to pray for myself because I wasn't sure I'd make it out of the first full week of summer vacation. Oddly, none of you offered to pray for my children, which, if you knew how wacky I can get from time to time, I'd have strongly advised! How delightful, though, that the only tears shed this summer were the result of my crazy hormones and not because of any inflicted blood shed. Will I attempt an annual go at The Summer of Yes!? Based on these preliminary results, coupled with how happy and helpful my boys were, I think so. Knowing how quickly this summer has already drawn to a close, it will feel like the opportunity will be here before I even expect it.
However, rest assured, on Wednesday, after the school bus has pulled away and the house is silent for several hours once again, there will be a moment when I pump my fist in the air and cry out "YES!!!" Because I've earned it. Yes, I have.