By Kelly Hines
To say that things get a little loose around our house in the summer is a gross understatement. I regularly wander into our younger children’s rooms at 10:30 at night and find them still awake. The teenager keeps a strict 12 a.m. to 12 p.m. sleeping schedule. Often I have to think – really hard – about when the last time the littles had a shower. When the six year old stumbles in for breakfast, his hair stiff with days old sunscreen, I think – ‘Eh. We’re going to the pool today. That counts.’
They’ve eaten truckloads of food and grown a foot, supporting my theory that boloney sandwiches and fruit leather is the nectar of the gods. If an occasion arises where someone needs to wear pants, we’d be hard pressed to find a pair that fit. My middle daughter came “thisclose” to packing a swimsuit full of lake water to take to camp. No one knows where their shoes are.
For 100 days of summer, I am Fun Mom. Want to have a lemonade stand at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday? Sure, why not. The next day, too? Done. Want to wash all of your stuffed animals in the bathtub with two cups of dish soap? What’s the harm? Pizza for breakfast and pancakes for lunch? Whatever, bro. Three hour marathon of Cupcake Wars? Let me pop the popcorn. I spend nine months running a tight ship and three months throwing a patchwork sail into the air and letting a monkey steer.
They want to go shopping for school supplies already, and I just can’t. I see the calendar roll over to August and I mourn July, the best month ever. We’ve had plenty of family fun with more to come, but I can’t help but feel summer slipping away. I stare at the stack of school forms and supply lists and schedules and hope that if I ignore it, the end won’t come.
I am not ready for the seriousness of September, of having places to be and things to do. I am not ready to dedicate quite so much of my mental energy to scheduling. I am not ready to pack lunches or check homework or make sure the blue shorts (NO, not those blue shorts! My FAVORITE BLUE SHORTS!) are clean by morning. I am not ready, in all honesty, to again be responsible for more than sunshine and survival.
I have twenty-five days, give or take, before I have to get it together. I will spend the Sunday before the first day of school neatly labeling folders and ironing first day of school outfits, scrubbing down children and clipping the summer out from under their nails. Until then, I will love these days that are long and heads that smell like sweat and sun, finally asleep long after their bedtime.