I always look forward to this time of year – when school wraps up for my son, the days are long and the pool is open. I think summer is going to be relaxing and I picture myself sitting in the sun with a big fruity drink, chatting with my girlfriends while our children play happily.
But then June actually rolls around and I find myself wondering what part of all of this chaos was the part that I was waiting for.
Maybe summer is relaxing for some people, but I’m definitely not one of them.
The end of the school year means the dreaded 2-month-long planning & coordinating process, figuring out camps and grandparent visits and vacation days for every single day of the entire summer.
It means shelling out thousands of dollars (that I don’t necessarily have) to pay for all of these programs up front.
It means that my kids, who have every toy, video game system, book, art supply and piece of outdoor sporting equipment they could ever need, will repeated tell me how bored they are.
It includes packing great big lunches every single day (because my son can’t buy lunch at camp like he does some days at school), and then listening to “Why did you pack that? So-and-so’s mom packs him nothing but brownies and soda and Cheetos. You’re so mean!”
It means carting kids back and forth to inconvenient places every day instead of just having them hop on the bus.
Summer means longer daylight, which makes my toddler’s 7:30 pm bedtime that much more challenging, and cuts into “mommy quiet time.”
It means beautiful, sunny, 85-degree days that I’ll enjoy only from my office window.
It means that when I’m not working, I’m outside with the kids longer – and ignoring my filthy house more.
It features more kids than usual around the house every day, because we’re the ones with the pool and that automatically makes my kids popular from June ’til September.
It means BBQs and gatherings where I’ll be expected to wear a bathing suit in front of people.
It means that for 3 months I’ll be subjected to Facebook photos of my non-mommy friends regularly enjoying drinks at Breakwater’s or at concerts or on vacation or wherever it is that I’d love to be if only I didn’t spend all my money on camps.
It means that I’ll see these Facebook posts and get all inspired (or as my husband would say, “obsessed”) with the idea of taking the kids to more big events more often and so then we’ll… well… plan and pack and and get someone to watch the dog and spend money and endure whining and lose favorite toys and repeatedly yell “Stop hitting your brother for 2 minutes and just smile so I can get a nice $#@%^ picture for Facebook!” and remember why we don’t do this every weekend.
It means everyone will see my daughter’s legs – which are covered with cuts and bruises because she is super-fast and has no fear of anything – and I’ll have to explain it all so people don’t think we beat her.
It means my son will go visit his dad for a few weeks, and while it will be a little less stressful for me, I’ll also be losing my built-in “mommy just needs to take a shower” toddler watcher.
It means that my kids will tan like their fathers and I will freckle like my mother.
And it means that just about every single day, when I’m broke and exhausted and my kids are running around, filthy and tired and smiling and yelling and giggling and enjoying every moment of summer, I will find myself thinking “Man, I wish summer could last forever.”
These are the smiles that make it all worth it for me