I was feeling pretty awesome this morning as I got the kids ready for school. Late spring, the morning was warm, the kids were adequately compliant. I remembered healthy snacks, their matching socks, all the homework was packed in the backpacks. No one got bitten. It was, in short, cause enough to feel as though I might be nominated for the Donna Reed of The Neighborhood award, I was that rad.
But then my mood sank as I was immediately forced to witness an alarming conversation occurring in the backseat:
"Only 21 more days of school left, Gabriel!" sing-songs the 7-year-old in a (disturbingly) cheerful voice.
"What happens then, Frankie?" the 4-year-old claps his hands excitedly. He senses both a very near end to the driveling of repeated name printing and a very near beginning to days of mother-torturing.
Frankie, the 7-year-old, is jubilant."Then, Gabriel, we get to stay home! With Mama! All day! Every--"
"That's enough of that crazy talk!" I said. I know I sounded more frantic than I meant to -- at least I think it was me that said that. The voice was more demonic than usual; there was a distinct undertone of terror. Come to think of it, it was probably me. I usually sound that way when it comes to the most dismal time of year.
You know it. Don't pretend you don't. The sun is shining. Birds are chirping. The grass is green. My angry neighbor almost sort of smiles when she is grunting her way from the car to her house. It might be indigestion, but it looks like a smile. Indeed, everyone is cheerful. After all, the days are getting longer!
Everyone is cheerful, that is, except that small but highly medicated population of parents who will soon be in the midst of the single most horrible science experiment in child-rearing that could ever exist.
Teachers call it Summer Vacation. (Those bitches.) I call it "This Is Going To Suck The Life Out Of You," or just "This is Going To Suck" for short.
Typical day during This Is Going To Suck:
4:45 a.m. 4-year-old crawls into my bed and proceeds to take all the blankets and kick them violently to the floor. May or may not decide that his head must share the 16 square inches on which my head is resting. He promptly goes back to sleep, comfortable. I wake up, miserable.
7:15 a.m. 7-year-old stumbles downstairs to watch "Dog with a Blog" on demand. At an inappropriate volume. Son with autism breezes through to get 14 handfuls of Cheerios, dropping the first 12 on the kitchen floor. Will not see him again for 14 hours while he hopes to settle in for a productive day of watching the preview guide and incessant backyard playscape swinging. I begin cleaning the kitchen, a demonstration in futility and my mounting stupidity. It will be messy by the time I finish. I will accordingly begin again.
9:30 a.m. 4-year-old rolls over in my bed and considers getting up. Falls back to sleep before he can commit to any sort of plan.
10:45 am 12-year-old daughter strolls down. Asks if we can "pop over to the mall." Sees mother's snarling look of scorn. Notices the 47 loads of laundry left to fold. Goes back upstairs.
11:25 a.m. 4-year-old sleepily emerges from my bedroom wearing only a pair of Star Wars briefs and demands "breakfast." I am, unsurprisingly, fresh out of Cheerios.
12:10 p.m. I make grilled cheese for lunch for all four of my children. Apparently, everyone has developed a mighty hatred for grilled cheese since last Wednesday, when they loved them. Further developments include the realization I am out of juice boxes.
12:14 p.m. I am voted Worst Mom Ever. My name wasn't even on the ballot. Apparently, I was a unanimous "write-in." I find this fishy considering the 4-year-old can only print his name and the word STOP. I demand a recount.
12:15 p.m. Recount denied.
12:16 p.m. until 2:45 p.m. I have no recollection of the time. It is most likely spent rocking back and forth and sweating profusely in the corner of the dining room while children make it rain grilled cheese sandwiches in the air around me.
3:00 p.m. I take a shower. My first and last one of the week. I suggest the park. My suggestion is accepted by my constituents, as long as it is by way of 7-11 for Slurpees.
3:40 p.m. We go to 7-11. We break things. The cashier cries.
3:50 p.m. We arrive at the park, where I try to encourage a rousing game of Guess Who's Sleeping. Again, I am vetoed. While the preferred game of Run Around And Scream is ongoing, I search for job possibilities on my phone. I bookmark "Garbage Collector" and "Short Order Cook," two careers that seem relevant to my limited and highly specialized areas of expertise. I become immediately depressed with the knowledge that I am unlikely to escape from my current career path anytime before 2020.
3:58 p.m. I rue my life choices.
4:?? p.m. I space out for an indeterminable amount of time.
5:30 p.m. I get the children McDonald's for dinner for the third time this week. And it's only Wednesday.
7:45 p.m. We all five cuddle in my big bed and read books and I think, this! THIS is what it's all about.
8:10 p.m. Crying. This time it's not me. Frankie "accidentally" kicked Gabriel in the nose.
8:11 p.m. Kisses. Hugs.
8:14 p.m. Drinks of water. Bedtime snacks.
8:16 p.m. More drinks.
8:19 p.m. More snacks.
8:38 p.m. More crying.
This time it is me. I just remembered I have to do it all again tomorrow.
For more large family hijinks, discussion on marriage, divorce, love and sex, check out Nicole at www.momof4istired.com.