Can anyone else hear it? Please tell me I’m not alone in humming Europe’s “Final Countdown,” over and over as this school year draws to a close and summer beckons us toward her sunny embrace.
I’m an idiot. Why you ask? Because I engage in the same irrational thought patterns every year, get the same shitty outcome and then act surprised that things didn’t change. No wait…I’m pretty sure that doing the same thing over and over but thinking you’ll get different results meets the definition of insanity. I stand corrected. I’m not an idiot. I’m insane.
Let me explain.
Summer of Dreams
Every year around this time I find myself chock full of excitement about the end of the school routine drudgery and the freedom that the “loosey-goosieness,” of summer offers us as a family. (If you haven’t picked up on it by now I am definitely not someone who likes monotony or predictability.) No more getting up at specific times, keeping track of whose going where or what project is due or what stupid form I need to sign. Instead, for two glorious months, we have a wide-open calendar giving us tons of opportunities to do cool stuff together as a family. And now that the girls are older teens the sky’s the limit. We’ll go camping and hiking and work on crazy art projects together and go to the drive-in and finally get back to Canada’s Wonderland to get on all of the terrifying rides they couldn’t go on the last time we were there. This is going to be the summer. I can feel it. Ya, this is going to be the summer we talk about for the rest of our lives.
This will never happen. How do I know this? History. It’s the single greatest predictor of future outcomes and our summer family history indicates that the wheels will come off the “Summer of Dreams,” cart about five days in.
Here’s what I predict my summer will actually look like:
Day 1 – Let the girls sleep in because they deserve a break after a long school year. Do chores around the house and enjoy the quiet while making a list of all the awesomely, fantastic things we can do together.
Day 4 – Girls continue to sleep in and I start getting a lot louder as I do things around the house hoping to gently wake them from their restorative slumber.
Day 5 – Insist all this ridiculous sleeping in halts immediately and our summer of togetherness starts right now by doing long neglected household chores together. This is predictably met with eye rolls and moderate swearing.
Day 6 – Allow the girls to sleep in again as spending an entire day doing chores with them has made me want to move into the woods and become a tree person.
Day 8 – Start taking super long walks and leaving notes for my children regarding where to find food etc.
Day 14 – Notice that my partner seems to have a lot of “work-related,” golf events suddenly and isn’t home much.
Day 20 – Mistakenly agree to the girls having multiple friends over for a backyard camping sleepover. Insanity ensues.
Day 21 – Start researching lengthy camps I can send my teenagers to.
Day 25 – Spontaneously decide to drive eight hours north to blackfly country to visit the grandparents in the hopes I can somehow trick them into keeping one or all of the teenagers for the rest of the summer.
Day 30 – Plan “Leave kids at grandparents,” fails dismally and am forced to make the long trip home with whining, blackfly mutilated, entitled teens.
Day 33 – Kids now sleep in all the time, do the bare minimum of chores and we all try incredibly hard to avoid one another.
Day 39 – Go on a family camping trip that will inevitably end several days earlier then planned due to one or all of the following: bad weather, extreme sunburn, poison ivy, killer bee attack, being formally asked to leave the camp grounds, attempted murder.
Day 45 – Begin humming “Final Countdown,” for the first day of school.