Well, Dan came home today and caught me. It was just before lunch, and I really didn’t expect him home so early. You see, he found us all still in pajamas, bowls of half-eaten Cheerios on the lego-littered table, boys locked-in to video games, Lizzy STILL asleep, and me reading comfortably on the couch.
I nervously tried to play this off as though it was a rare occurrence. “Oh yeah, we do this every day,” I said in my most sarcastic tone.
But the truth is…we DO!!!
Summer 2017 has been THE BEST SUMMER EVER!!! And I’m heartbroken that it is almost over.
Yes, the boys went on a 10- day backpacking/camping trip with their Dad in California. Yes, we had a couple of soccer tournaments and basketball tournaments. Yes, we had some company from Nebraska on several occasions so went to do fun things with cousins like Snowbird and hiking. And yes, we spent almost every Sunday afternoon at Lagoon riding roller coasters.
But for the most part, 90% of our days look something like this: We wake up whenever our bodies awaken somewhere around 8 or 9 (or sometimes 10)AM. We stay in pajamas until at least noon. The boys play video games all morning while I read on the couch or occasionally fold laundry when Luke begins dressing himself in sweats or church clothes and there really is nothing for anyone to wear. Then, in the afternoon when we are all bored out of our minds and stir-crazy, we go swimming. Every. Single. Day. After swimming, they are all so hungry they fill up on cereal and toast or nachos and popsicles so everyone is too full for dinner. Which means I never cook. Ever.
It has been a summer of very little cleaning, very little cooking, very little email-checking, and very little having any place to be.
It has been glorious.
Poor Dan still wakes to an alarm at 6AM and takes himself to work. He calls every day on the way home so we have a 30-minute window in which to scurry around picking up all the toys and books and shoes littered around the floor. I quickly vacuum the living room while Isaiah does the dishes and Eli takes out the trash. It certainly looks as if we did something with our day.
But we didn’t.
Yes, I’ve seen that Pin about having a ‘summer camp’ at home. The one in which some overzealous mom explains that Monday is craft day, Tuesday is for baking, Wednesday involves a water park or splash pad or some “wet” activity, Thursday is their field trip day for the zoo or museum or aviary, and Friday is the day they go to the public library to check out new books.
Yes, I’ve seen the Pin about the kids doing something outside and something creative then doing household chores and 20 minutes of Fast Math followed by 30 minutes of reading BEFORE any screen time can be EARNED.
Yes, I’ve seen the Pin about crafts made from pool noodles for boys.
It all sounds pretty exhausting to me. It sounds like a lot of work for mom and a lot of cajoling and harping at four little boys who really just want to have a free summer to relax and have fun.
The thing is, I don’t think every minute of their lives is meant for enrichment of some kind. I don’t think every minute is meant for creating some precious, mom-crafted childhood memory.
Do you know what stands out from my summers? I thought about this and here is the list that immediately comes to mind:
- I once created a family out of water balloons complete with sharpie marker faces. I made a nest for them to live in among the landscaping outside. I made up little stories of survival for this poor, homeless balloon family and played with them endlessly until they shriveled in the sun.
- I once ran across the street from the McMurtry’s house to get my roller skates and skinned my toe. Really skinned it. Like all the skin from the end of my toe peeled back and I was bleeding everywhere. We were planning to play “Drive thru” with the mailboxes that lined the street like we always did (the other kids on bikes but me on roller skates because my bike was a rusty, hand-me-down banana seat bike that I was embarrassed of) but I had to go in crying to doctor my toe.
- I once convinced my neighbor Stephanie to build a swimming pool in her back yard and we spent HOURS shoveling all the sand from her sandbox under the swingset into a pile in her YARD then proceeded to fill the sandbox with water. Her mom looked pretty mad when she saw it and sent me home. And boy, was my back sunburned!
- And that summer before my first job, I spent every single day, all day laying in the hammock reading books. And every day my Dad came home and said something like, “there’s the life of Riley”.
None of these summer memories involved a Pinterest worthy activity carefully constructed and controlled and manipulated by my mom. In fact, they’re all pretty random.
I’ll bet my kids will be the same way. I’ll bet someday I will be surprised at what stands out as prominent memories from their childhood summers.
But here is what I’ll remember about Summer 2017:
- One morning I found myself sitting between Luke shirtless and still wearing his shorts from the day before while eating his breakfast cereal in a bike helmet and Lizzy gobbling down her oatmeal while wearing giant Hulk glasses from an old happy meal.
- The boys spent a few days obsessed with magic tricks they learned on Youtube and they showed me every single one over and over and over.
- The boys spent a few days obsessed with solving a Rubix cube and despite watching hours of Youtube videos for hints, they never solved it.
- Almost nearly every day, they went out to hunt wasps together with water guns.
- Isaiah and Eli were always looking for a reason to run to the neighborhood store for me on their bikes. “Mom, do you have syrup? We want waffles. We better run to the store for some syrup.” I could tell they felt so grown up!
- One day at Farmington pool, all four boys cooperatively played on the water slide for HOURS. They’d all go up together. Isaiah would go first, then James, Eli would help Luke go down so Isaiah could catch him, and Eli brought up the rear. Over and over and over. It was amazing.
- One day we all sat and watched “Try Not to Laugh” videos and we laughed SO HARD. We just couldn’t stop laughing at the sound of Luke’s laugh when that deer farted!
- Lizzy learned to walk and I’m officially done nursing my last baby. I’ll always remember the very last time.
- Our garden has produced exactly 8 raspberries and maybe 20 strawberries. But we grew more zucchini than we could possibly eat so Eli baked us Death by Chocolate zucchini bread nearly every other day.
- Grandma Rosie bought us a Ninja blender so this was the summer of fruit smoothies in many, many combinations.
- And one day James and Luke were busy playing with one of James’s friends from school so Isaiah and Eli actually played army. It was very sweet. With guns made from Trio blocks, they acted out all these scenarios complete with gun and explosion sounds and pretending to be hit and dragging each other down the hall out of harm’s way and saying things like “cover me bro!” just like when they were 4 and 2 or 5 and 3…back when they were a duo. I pretended to be reading but really I just sat listening. Memorizing that moment.
I checked my email. Back to school night is on Monday. I’ll be there. And then my kids will start school on Wednesday. They’ll be there in clean uniforms and new school shoes with backpacks full of all the required supplies and their summer book projects (don’t get me started on summer work…don’t the teachers know we’re on vacation??). They’ll have fresh haircuts and trimmed nails. They’ll have copies of their immunizations and all the necessary signed forms. They’ll have healthy lunches packed and maybe even a note because, after all, it will be the first day.
I’m getting ready to mom again.
But what an amazing summer!!!