Summer in Texas was about soaking in the rays, hanging out with friends at water parks, driving with the top down with the music blaring and eating late night dinners under the stars. Even in college and just past, that didn’t change much for me, even with an infant or toddler. There were lots of places that catered to young families where we could all converge with our little ones in tow, share a bucket of beer, a great plate of sizzling fajita and let our kids play in a giant sandbox until their eyelids drooped. I looked forward to the long days of breezy sundresses and sandals, no make-up because our skin was bronze from the kiss of the sun, and the calming effect of the heavy heat slowing everyone down to a snail’s pace. Summer was a season I looked forward to every year.
My first summer in Michigan was much cooler than I had expected. I don’t think I put on a pair of shorts or a short skirt once in 2001, but the longer I live here, my body temperature seems to have adjusted comfortably. Although 52 at 8:00 in the morning isn’t exactly the same balminess I grew up with, it is still fun to drive with the sunroof open. And by lunchtime I do enjoy a quick read on the back deck with the dog and the sun. For a while, summer as a mom was still about spending the hours with friends, pulling together meals in the backyard and even sharing a cooler filled with drinks.
But then my kids started school.
This is our first official week of summer. Last week was sort of the “teaser”, the week where school ended and the summer schedules had not started yet.
The Hare stood in our mudroom, arms crossed, scowling.
“I just cleaned this zone yesterday and now look at it!” she yelled, “How in the world am I supposed to keep my zone clean if other people keep leaving their stuff everywhere?”
The kids are responsible for specific areas of the house this summer, regardless of whose items are left behind. She was clearly agitated that her sister had left a pair of shoes on the floor rather than put them on the shoe rack. I can’t even imagine how that feels.
“I hate this new zone rule!” she hissed rushing past me.
The Tortoise sat silently, seemingly bored.
“How’s your math going?” I asked. The kids are required to do one 30 minute math lesson a day this summer to keep up their skills and to introduce next year’s new concepts.
“I’m behind by two days,” she grunted, “I hate doing math. I’m bored and I miss my friends.”
Both The Tortoise and The Hare have tested the limits of my clothing boundaries by ever so slightly rolling up their short length a smidgen each day to see if I’ll notice.
“Those are too short and not what we agreed on in the store,” I said.
“Then I’m never going to wear these shorts again!” shouted The Hare.
“You just want me to dress like an old woman!” snapped The Tortoise.
This morning, I got the kids up at 6:45am so we could get ready for the day. The Tortoise swims from 8 – 10 am five days a week, while The Hare practices from 8:30 – 12:30 four days a week and then once a week until 2:30 pm. Then of course, they also have chosen one extra activity, voice lessons for one and the other wants piano lessons. The Tortoise barked at me when I suggested she eat some breakfast before practice and The Hare snapped at me because she didn’t want the large blue water jug I had filled up for her for practice. By 7:30 am, both of the kids were irritated with me, the dog was refusing to go potty before we left, the house still looked like a train wreck, and I was trying to figure out how to squeeze in the cleaners, the grocery store and laundry between pick-ups, drop-offs and requests for sleepovers tonight.
DW will be at his golf league.
“You must be glad summer is finally here,” DW said recently.
Perhaps tonight’s big plan will include my pajamas by 7 pm, a bottle of wine and take-out.