School, if you haven’t heard, is out for summer.
*cue guitar solo*
Hear that noise? That’s the sound of hundreds of parents weeping at the impending “I’m booooooored,” that will pepper each and every conversation from now until August, a date that seems impossibly far away from where I’m standing. Oddly, I like having my children around, even the ten-going-on-sixteen one, who has his moments of sweetness interspersed with what I can only assume is the beginning of puberty.
Hear that? That’s the sound of me weeping into my cup of coffee.
Summer vacation in my house meant two things: it was going to be ass hot, and my mother, as soon as I awoke, would hand me a slice of bread to eat as she booted me out the door, locking me squarely outside. It’s not that she didn’t like my company – I’m quite certain I was both a gentleman AND a scholar – it’s that she simply didn’t want to listen to me whine about being bored.
And, with kids of my own now, I can’t say I blame her.
We were a rowdy pack: there was my BFF(slash)mortal enemy (we switched it up every other day or so) Ashley, my best friend David Cook (no relation to the American Idol winner)(PROBABLY), and a couple of other kids thrown in for good measure. We got into all kinds of mischief and mayhem, or, what appeared to US to be mischief and mayhem. Mostly, we played American Gladiators and watched women’s wrestling.
Foxy boxing was, well, foxy.
We were a pack of free-range kids. Our neighborhood was tucked well out of the way from traffic, so the few cars that drove past did so slowly enough that we could pull in our hockey nets before getting run over. We had Lemonade Stands, played Ghost in the Graveyard, and, once, in a stunning fit of brilliance, peeled half the bark of the birch tree in the front yard.
I’ve been sorta sad my own son hasn’t gotten to have that experience. Ben’s the type of kid who, bless the good lord-n-butter, lives with his head permanently in the clouds. I’m being for-serious when I say that he’s the kid who’d be all, “Oh, you have KITTENS in your car Mr. Trenchcoat Dude in the Child Napping Van? LEMMIE AT THE KITTIES!”
It’s less a personality defect and “GRAAAAPPPPP” *hair falls out into a puddle around me* type of situation. I’m EARNING my bald patches.
Which is why I’ve been looking forward to this. The day has FINALLY come.
The younger two are now old enough to play in the front without me having to have a coronary because the teens that live in the houses surrounding mine like to use my normally-quiet street for drag racing contests. It’s like toddlers don’t know they shouldn’t go in the street or some shit. Clearly, toddlers are stupid.
Last night, I stood in my backyard, perched atop a precariously placed step-stool*, kicking myself for not weather-sealing the privacy screen that my roses use to climb upward, because black spot is a motherfucking asshole that I’d like to kick in its tiny fungus ass.
Below me, and oddly not trying to shake the ladder, my children clamored about in the backyard, a motley band of neighborhood kids all in one space, using the swing-set that I’d once bought for my (then) only child and eating Popsicles I’d had stashed away in the freezer for such an occasion. I listened to them chatter back and forth, “telling” on each other, playing dodge ball, pulling each other aside for “secrets” and, finally, having an American Idol-type singing contest.
(my kid, I’ll have you know, sang “Eye of the Tiger”)
I smiled, one of those soft quiet smiles you give yourself when you feel you’ve done something right.
American Gladiators may be long-since over. Foxy Boxing may only occur on YouPorn. I don’t own a birch tree (I own an Ass Tree that’s infected with an Ass Boner). I plan to pay my children NOT to host a lemonade stand.
But finally. FINALLY my kids? They, too, are becoming free-range kids.
Here’s hoping one of the toddlers reminds his older brother that he should not, in fact, accept candy from strangers.
If only I could train my roses to kick blackspot in the taco – THEN my life would be complete.
This is a random picture of Alex’s handiwork – apparently, he learned how to water-board while at school.
If you look carefully, you can see the reflection of an orchid in the bowl – it’s like one of those optical illusions. I wonder if you can see Jesus!
*Don’t ask me why anyone within a five-block radius thought that me standing on a step-stool was a good idea.