Friday, August 9, 2013

The Ending of Summer Vacation

The 8 year-old & I in Tennessee 
It’s almost here.  Five more days, actually.  I’m not sure when it begins in your neck of the world.  We have nephews and nieces who have already started and some who won’t begin for two or three more weeks.  I’m not sure why everyone doesn’t start on the same day.  I’m sure there’s some bureaucratic reason behind it all, but I fail to see the logic.  Perhaps they’re afraid of what might happen to all of the tourist traps across the U.S. if everyone was released at the same time.  Whatever the reason, the 8 year-old’s prison sentence resumes in five days.

I, of course, have mixed feelings about it.  She, however, does not.  She hates the idea and is dreading my daily count down.  Wait until I begin counting down the hours and by then she’ll be weeping with her Monster High Dolls while trying to cram as much adventure into her last seconds of freedom as possible.  Regardless of what the girls say, I, however, am not that dramatic.  My jumping up and down was the result of a fantastic story idea that came into my mind and had nothing to do with the first day of school being almost here.

No, really. It’s true.  Really.

The difficulty this summer was teaching the 8 year-old that just because she was on summer break, it didn’t mean that I was.  We made the jump last September for me to quit leaving the house for my 9 to 5, which was really a 10 to 4, and work from home.  It was about the same time that Sarah and the 8 year-old moved in with us and I can only assume that she thought I had quit work to take care of her as I was the one taking her to school and picking her back up.  She was unaware, obviously, that I actually worked during the hours in-between.  What she thought I did, I have no idea.  More than likely, she assumed I lounged around all day waiting on her inevitable return.  This was made apparent when she asked which of the girls had the day off one day shortly into her school vacation.

The boys at a younger age
“No one, honey.  They all have to go into work today.”

“So you and I are the only ones with the day off?”

I glance at her.  Then I glance at the pen and paper in my hands.  Then I glance at her again.  “I’m working today.  See.  Paper. Pen.  Scribbling.  This is me working.”

“Oh.  So, you want to go swimming?”

And that went on for several days.  There were days I surrendered and jumped into the pool with her and afternoons where we took a Candyland break.  Her friends would invade our home on other days, entertaining her for a little while or she would go wander down to theirs so that I could get some words down on paper.  I was productive, but not as much as when she was in school.

I don’t mind, however.  It’s been a fun summer and, to be honest, I hate to think of how complicated it would have been if I had to drive off every day.  Then there would be daycare and more juggling with the vehicles and schedules and a headache I don’t even want to contemplate.  I’m not sure how some families do it.

The two of us finally managed to come to an understanding and get a routine down.  We’ve enjoyed movies and popcorn, swimming, and the occasional board game.  At other times, she’ll play with her dolls on the porch while I’m working.  We eat lunch together and at three we have a snack.  It’s been a pretty good routine, a routine that’s going to change in five days.

The boys all grown up & their mother
I’m ready for it and, then again, I’m not.  I’m looking forward to the extra words I’ll be able to get in, but I’m going to miss my little reason for procrastinating.  I’m a routine kind of person and I don’t like those routines disturbed once I have them in place.  It takes me awhile to adjust and become productive again when they get thrown out of whack.  By the time June rolls around again and she’s back out of school, I’ll be fussing about my routine being mangled once again; at least, for a couple of weeks.  Then I’ll remember this summer and the fun I’ve had and I’ll embrace it with a smile.

I remember when the boys were this age and the fun we had.  I also remember how fast those days and then the years flew by.  Work will always be there.  There will always be an assignment to complete or an email to answer, but the young ones will not always be young.  They grow and are soon on their own and a family trip takes months to plan just to get everyone off work at the same time.  So, as I said, I look at the coming school year with mixed feelings.  My house will return to hours of quietness so that I can allow my characters to roam freely, but then again that quietness means another summer gone never to return.  I hope you’ve made the most of yours as we have tried to with ours, because in the end, as the saying goes, it is not how you made a living that matters, but how you made a life.  That’s what I’ll remember and carry with me.  How about you?

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