Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Opinion

June 14, 2013

Summer -- 84 days and counting

I love being a mom – 365 days a year – or nearly that many.

Motherhood is a daily (and middle-of-the-nightly) event, but it’s right around this time each year I find myself contemplating the value of my role in providing guidance, direction, leadership and healthy snacks to my children. After decades of soul-searching, I think I finally understand why.

Summer vacation. School let out last week. We are on the tenth day of summer break and I woke this morning with the realization we have a full 84 consecutive days remaining before this escapade of ours is over. One week down, 12 to go. I did the math and numbers don’t lie.

They’ll spend their mornings and afternoons here – 24/7. Day in, day out. Eating in the family room. Playing basketball in the driveway. Eating in their bedrooms. Not flushing. Eating in the screen porch. Creating their own definition of what it means to make a bed. Eating – anywhere but the kitchen. Discarding various items of clothing in the yard because they got hot. Eating – again. Running outside in their stocking-feet because they can’t find their shoes. Eating – still. And so on.

For the next three months (84 days, but who’s counting?) I will be two steps behind them, trying to keep the refrigerator full and the laundry pile empty, while summer reading assignments pile up like cereal bowls in the sink, crumbs on the counter and flip flops by the back door. At first, I will make efforts to keep up with this entity called summer, but will gradually give in and come to accept a life that includes disheveled hair, disheveled beds and disheveled schedules.

The season is meant for fun. I understand this. I embrace this. I’m just not sure, sometimes, if I could ever be fully prepared for the unabashed, uninhibited warm weather glee that emanates from my offspring June through August. Better put, how many Reese’s wrappers found in the laundry is too many? Can there be too many? I guess I should be thankful they were empty. Chocolate stains are difficult. Then again, I could’ve used a little sugar pick-me-up.

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