We are white-knuckling it through the last two weeks of school. Every morning it seems more difficult to get everyone out of the bed, dressed, fed and out the door on time. As soon as I crack the door open in the room my 7-year-old and 5-year-old shared, they whine in unison, “I’m so tired! I don’t want to go to school today!”
I really do understand. Their little brains have absorbed all they can hold. They are tired of sitting still, tired of waiting their turn and tired of wearing shoes.
I remember the first few days of summer vacation as a little girl growing up in Alabama. The lazy days of waking up when your body told you it was time, instead of being jerked out of the bed and rushed off to school.
I remember the simple joy of not worrying about my clothes, but throwing on cut-off blue jeans, a t-shirt and flip-flops to walk on the dirt path to my friend’s house next door. My feet would be covered with dust and mosquito bites by the time I got there and my hair would be a halo of frizz from the humid honeysuckled air.
My little sister, Blair, and I would squirt Palmolive on the trampoline then spray it with the garden hose and slip and slide all over the thing, while my mother watched from the laundry room, having heart palpitations and praying someone would invent a safety net for that thing.
Our joy lasted for about two weeks, just enough time for our eyes to become red from the chlorinated pool water and our first sunburns to begin to fade. Instead of waking up refreshed and excited about a brand new day, it would begin. The summertime blues.
“Momma, I’m bored,” I would whine to my mother.
“Y’all go jump on the trampoline.”
“It’s too hot and we did that yesterday.” My sister said.
Momma put up with that kind of business for approximately 60 seconds. Regardless of what Eddie Cochran sang, my Momma had a cure for “The Summertime Blues.” Her cure for boredom involved a bucket, a washcloth, all the baseboards and staircases in our house. If you started the day whining about how bored you were, you ended it with itchy eyes and a runny nose as your allergies reacted to all the dusting you’d done.
Now the tables have turned. I’m the mother at the laundry room window, thanking God that someone finally did invent a safety net for trampolines and making a list of all the small chores my girls can help me with this summer, should they be overcome with boredom.
I’m trying to spread our visits with out of town friends evenly over the summer, to break up the monotony, and working on organizing some summer play dates with friends to keep us busy.
In an attempt to avoid the depths of summertime despair, I have been signing up my two oldest children for Vacation Bible Schools and week long day camps all over town. They may not know what they are supposed to believe after a summer of theological vegetable soup. But they will be the most talented soccer playing, tutu wearing, singing and dancing, Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian kids in the school yard come September. And I’ve got a gut feeling my baseboards are going to be pretty clean, too.