Lord, Grant Me Patience This Summer Vacation

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The countdown has begun. Nine days until the official start of summer vacation at our house.

It's not like an excited "Nine days until Christmas" type of situation either, but more like a "Nine days until I get three root canals in succession" type of feel. And I certainly wouldn't use the term "vacation" to describe it, either.

In a perfect world, my children and I would spend our summer days together frolicking in the sunshine, eating ice cream, and bonding over the teamwork it required to grow the most perfect and deliciously ripe watermelon in our backyard family garden.

But reality bites.

My children thrive on a schedule. Open-ended chunks of time lead to chaos, tears, and just all around misery for everyone involved. Of course, I try to prepare for the situation by signing my kids up for an endless line of summer activities, but given their varying ages, there is nothing offered that accommodates all three of them at the same time. As a result, our days involve me frantically trying to shuffle them to their various activities at different times of the day, and my children having nothing but hatred toward the entire damn process. "I don't want to go with to his class Mom! Why do I have to go? Why don't I ever get to do anything fun? It's not fair!"

Don't get me started on the cost of these activities, either. One could feed a small village with the money spent on a one week gymnastics class for a toddler alone. And there is no guarantee that your kid will even be able to do a somersault at the conclusion of the week. "What am I paying you for? He is doing a log roll. That is NOT the same and really requires no skill whatsoever. Why are you clapping?"

We've spent a small fortune already on swimming lessons for the girls. My six year old is still in the beginner class that requires putting your face in the water and simply blowing bubbles. She is petrified of water levels beyond ankle deep, and so far swimming lessons has done nothing to alleviate that fear. She never passes, yet we still keep forking out money for these lessons because at the very least, it gives us an excuse to get out of the house.

Of course, there is always the beach. It's free and the kids love it. Me? Ugh. It takes longer preparing for these trips than the actual time spent at the beach. The whole sunscreen application process alone takes the better part of the morning. Not to mention the snacks, drinks, toys, towels, and bags of other useless shit that has to come with us every damn time. I am not an octopus. I have two arms. It is inhuman for me to carry all of this crap around while at the same time successfully preventing my 3 year old son from playing "Frogger" with his life in the parking lot.

And how about all the sand? I despise it. It's everywhere. The van, the house, the couch, under the sheets, in between toes, behind ears, the silverware drawer. I have reoccurring nightmares involving my children burying me in the sand. I can breath, but I cannot move or speak. They are standing over me with an assortment of popsicles that are, as a direct result of their intentional placement in space, repeatedly dripping into my right eyeball like some sick form of Chinese torture. My son is driving his dump truck back and forth over the mound of sand which is his lifeless and now partially blinded mother.

This is the point where I wake up every single time (unable to move, sand everywhere, face burning to a crisp, and a right eyeball that is now swimming in Koolaid)…only to realize that it is not a dream after all. "Can I at least get some god damn Visine?"

I wish I were the type of mom who was into crafts and/or art projects. If this were the case, several doors would open and the possibilities would be endless. Monday could be "construct a birdhouse day", Tuesday "paper mache day", Wednesday "plant a fairy garden day", Thursday "use your imagination and make whatever you want using this predetermined set of supplies day," and so on and so forth. Unfortunately for my children, I couldn't be a more opposite kind of mother.

I know one thing for sure; my attempts to create some sort of a normal summer schedule to prevent aggressive eye gouging at the end of the day will fail miserably and we will be left with the following scenarios:

"Why can't we get a pool Mom?"

"I'm bored."

"I'm hungry."

"I'm bored and hungry."

"All my friends have a pool."

"I don't want to pick up sticks in the yard again Mom."

"Why do I always have to pick up sticks? I can't live like this!"

"None of my friends ever have to pick up sticks. They get to play in their pool all day long."

"Buddy's eating dirt again Mom."

"Can I have a snack?"

"I don't want THAT snack!"

"I am NOT going outside. I saw a bee out there yesterday. Do I look like I have a death wish?"

"We're supposed to be having fun Mom."

"This is NOT fun."

"This is the opposite of fun."

"This is the worst…summer…ever."

87 days until school starts. Give or take.

But who's counting?

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