Eight Days and Counting

Any parent home with their kids knows the significance of the number eight. As I sit here and write, it is eight days until the children are safely back in school. I use the word safely deliberately because their well being cannot be guaranteed much longer in my home. Even if I choose not to cause them harm, there is no doubt that they will cause one another harm, as bickering increases with boredom. I am not enjoying these last few treasured moments of downtime with my precious offspring.  I like the downtime, but I have had enough. I need it in July when school has just ended and the town pool is a muse, our skin is unburned, and our vacation is on the horizon instead of a murky memory.

The problem as I see it is that summer’s end feel like limbo.  Summer is over, but it is still warm, sometimes brutally so, and the swarms of bees remind us that we have another month of weather. However, weather does not define a season. A season is defined by its hallmark activities. In winter it is snowmen, hot chocolate, and ski trips. In summer it is swimming and road trips and camp. But camp is over and cars are back in the driveway.  The children have swimmer’s ear so the pool is out.

And please don’t forget the constant reminder that school is blissfully close to opening its doors to welcome our kids. The envelopes arrived last week informing their recipients whose class they will report to next week. The parking lot at the local elementary school is no longer empty; teachers have begun to return to set up their rooms. I visited our school a few days ago and trying to disguise my jealousy, smirked at the teachers and principal who were literally glowing from their summer’s respite.

“I am going to be the one glowing next week,” I laughed maniacally as I dragged my brood out.

So our thoughts have turned back to school as we sharpen our pencils, and wait. And wait. I imagine limbo to involve a lot of waiting. Children don’t do waits well. Waiting causes whining. Whining causes parents to lose patience. This unfortunate burst of impatience usually coincides with the moment there are no more clean clothes and laundry must be done. Laundry of course will not be done because the children are, at this point in the summer, incapable of entertaining themselves unless the entertainment involves torturing a sibling, an activity that requires immediate intervention.  My voice has not been heard at a normal decibel in at least three weeks. I found myself yelling at the dry cleaner yesterday, not for any particular reason, just because I assume, like my children, that no one can really hear me unless I shout.

Yes, it is pure survival at this point in the summer’s end. My three year old knows how to turn on the computer, load Firefox, and find Dora on Nick Jr.. Inappropriately plugged in at too early an age? Maybe, but at least this way he doesn’t have to leave the house naked because he has no clean clothes. And considering the rotten looks that were thrown my way when I dragged him to the supermarket in the  throes of a tantrum, a sobbing, naked child certainly would have not have been regarded kindly.

In between crafting sentences for this post, I am frantically trying to reach my friend who left a somewhat desperate message on my phone a few hours ago. There was a hint of madness to her voice as she threatened to harm herself if summer doesn’t declare itself over soon. Eight days should be nothing. At least that’s what my husband says. Right now, though, it feels interminable. I may send the kids down to the end of the driveway to wait for the bus. Fortunately, it is still warm enough.

Published in: on September 1, 2010 at 7:36 pm  Leave a Comment