It’s June 28th. School has been done for my kids for well over a week and everything that I dreaded in advance has come to pass. And then some. During the school year there is a balance. My kids are seldom home when I am, and I try hard not to be home when they are. This works out for all of us. Especially my wife, who can only take so much tension in her life and the tension that I create when the whole family is around is tangible and infectious. But forget my feeling that the house is overcrowded when we’re all together. Here’s my real gripe. And part of it, truly, is on behalf of my kids. Honest.
It’s this: When I was a kid (granted, that was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away), the last day of school would arrive, we’d line up waiting for the dismissal bell, it would sound and we would run out of school cheering like a pack of wild hyenas and then we’d go home, enter our respective bedrooms, slam the door, and do NOTHING for three months. I’m exaggerating. Slightly. It was only two months, three weeks and five days.
Seriously, it was a time to do nothing, or as close to nothing as possible. I don’t mean to brag, but I really perfected the art of nothing. A busy day for me would be waking up, watch some TV, go to my friend Rob’s house for a bologna and mayonnaise sandwich and play some one-on-one whiffle ball. And the only rule at my house, as it was throughout the year, was be home for dinner. Other than that, I could do whatever I wanted, or not do what I didn’t want. My choice. It was a beautiful thing. It was a break. Summer break.
Now? Well, they shouldn’t even call it summer break. It’s a lie. Since school ended, I now get up EVEN EARLIER to get my son ready for summer school, make lunch, then take him later today for two (not ONE!) basketball games, while my daughter goes to work, compressing two hours worth of complaining into the one minute I see her before she heads out the door. My wife, otherwise, known as the lucky one, is playing tennis and then going out to lunch with a friend of hers whom I can’t stand. And no, I’m not worried that that friend will read this blog because 1. I don’t care; 2. She can’t read; and 3. I DON’T CARE!
Sorry. Too much about me. This was supposed to be a gripe on behalf of my kids. So here that is: I wish my kids could sit around all summer and do nothing. And I’m sad for them that they’ll never know that life. Sure, no kid today knows that, and no parent today wants it. If my wife sees either kid doing nothing she mentions about 23 somethings they can be doing. So, it’s kind of a no win situation.
Now, there will be a two week period in August when all kid activities (summer school, b-ball, work, eye-rolling, etc.) will cease and they can just kick back and be at home. And theoretically do nothing. But I’ll never know. Seems my job is having a mandatory summer retreat that miraculously coincides with those two weeks. So. darn, no quality family time this summer. I know what you’re thinking. There is no summer retreat. I just made it up so I wouldn’t have to suffer the tension that comes from being around my family for any extended period of time. Now, I ask you: would I do that? Would I? Please don’t tell on me! Let me have my two-week summer break. Thank you.