My summer vacation was not what I would necessarily quantify as a real vacation, per say. When I think of vacation, I think of turquoise waves lapping at a white sand beach as I lay on my lounge chair, engrossed in a good book while someone brings me icy cold drinks upon request which I simply sign for. My lover and I laugh and kiss, leaning into each other, noshing on a bowl of freshly made guacamole and chips as the gentle breeze cools our sun-browned faces as we watch the sun flash it’s last burning pink smile before melting into the horizon. It conjures images of room service and puffy white down comforters, under which we sleep as late as we want…among other things. Perhaps some time spent wandering around the spa in a thick white terry robes supplied by the 5 star luxury hotel after our facials and 90 minute hot stone couples massage. See to me, that is a vacation.
Kids have Summer Vacation. Parents have Summer Probation.
- noun: a trial period during which your character and abilities are tested to see whether you are suitable for work or for membership.
Yes, my character was tested, so were my abilities, and the jury is still out on whether or not I am suitable for work or membership as a full-time stay-at-home parent.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my kids, but as any parent will tell you, after 3 long, arduous months of Pro Bono work as Program Director, Event Coordinator, Law Enforcement Officer, Educator, Line Cook, and Dishwasher, you have dreams of a giant golden school bus driving away with your children. I hope they don’t find out that Labor Day is actually just a celebration of them going back to school.
June 14th: LAST DAY OF SCHOOL! HOORAY!
The next morning the blur of kids birthday parties, trips, summer camps, breaking up fights, going to the pool, tearing them away from their iTouches and the freaking Wii that they would be happy to sit on all day, play dates, weekends at the beach, bandaging endless skinned knees, cookouts, trips to amusement parks, trips to the pottery painting place, threatening to beat them in public in the grocery store on numerous occasions, slathering on endless amounts of sunscreen, listening to them complain that “they’re bored”, listening to them complain that “they’re hungry”, trying to get my 5 year old to stop using the word “idiot” in every sentence, wrestling them into bed late every night, only to have them wake up like they’ve been shot out of a cannon between 6 and 7am every morning. Believe me, the list goes on.
I am not a glass is half empty kind of girl, and I am also not saying that I did not have some great and memorable times with my boys this summer, I absolutely did. What I am saying, is that the planning and constant entertaining involved in the average 16 hour 7 day work week is utterly exhausting…and your shift lasts three months! I’m tired! My earballs hurt. I’d like to experience the phenomenon known as “privacy” when I go to the bathroom. I don’t want to paint any more pottery, or build any more lego worlds, or fix 47 meals and snacks a day. I don’t want to have to explain to my neighbors why my son is on their trampoline wearing nothing but flannel sponge bob pajama pants that are about 4 sizes too small on a hot July afternoon. Not until that school bus pulls up on August 26th do I get to tap out.
Summer vacation should be more for us parents than periodically noticing the exotic beach location you use as a desktop pattern. It is more than just the two months between people talking about Game Of Thrones and Breaking Bad. It is valuable one-on-one time that you get to spend with your kids. With that said, I’m elated to be wandering around drinking coffee in my PJ’s at 1:30 on a Friday afternoon while they’re getting a good education. I’m also really glad the next episode of Breaking Bad isn’t taking off Labor Day weekend.