Yes, I realize that the calendar stubbornly refuses to recognize the commencement of the Summer season until June 21st. For us, however, it began at approximately 1:30 p.m. yesterday, when Riley (the last to return) triumphantly arrived home from school. There was an overwhelming sense of relief and closure, as the academic year came to a successful end. And let me tell you, one of the most satisfying things for me was emptying out the boys' pathetically-tattered, held-together-by-duct-tape 3-ring binders...and tossing them in the garbage. FREEDOM! So, while it has been less than 24 hours, here are some initial thoughts as we head into the Vacation Months.
Remember when Riley reluctantly, under protest, accepted the job of Safety Patrol? Well, since he will be the lone 5th grader on his bus next year, he will be entrusted with a Very Important Task: corralling the Kindergarteners and leading them to and from class each day. I figured that this would appeal to him, given his nurturing personality...and the very first words out of his mouth when he walked in the door yesterday were, "Kindergarteners are so cuuuuuute!" delivered with a delighted, affectionate expression. (Proving once again: Mother Knows Best. I mean really, is there ever any doubt? I didn't think so...)
On the other hand, this was Derek's leadoff comment: "I'm kinda sad school is over; this year was fun!" I'm sorry, who the HECK are you and what have you done with my son? Have you already conveniently forgotten waking up at 6:45 and spending 7 hours in a classroom and toiling over homework every night? I couldn't even reply; I just shook my head at the vagaries of the teenage male thought process. However, I swear it wasn't even 3 hours later when he wondered aloud, in a slightly concerned tone, "What am I gonna do with all my free time? I'm used to having 8 or 9 hours a day filled with school and soccer!" And, you guessed it, only a short while past that, it had already degenerated into "I'm bored!" I'm sure he'll rebound when it hits him (oh, about Monday morning or so) that he actually gets to sleep in for 10 weeks. And play outside whenever the mood strikes...and enjoy weekday video game time...and swim at the pool...yeah, his selective memory will catch up with him soon and remind him of the perks of late June, July, and August...
He still might need a bit of attitude tweaking, though. One recent night at dinner he moaned, "This is gonna be the worst Summer EVER!" As we all stared at him, astonished by such a dramatic proclamation from our normally low-key Derek, he expounded, "First you canceled two trips I really wanted to take, then you're sending me to Slave Camp (here he paused for effect, as though about to deliver the ultimate in terrible news)...annnnnd, we have to go to California!" Oh, my poor, tortured son. I apologize with utmost sincerity (N-O-T) about choosing to provide you with a week of camp on a posh private school campus where they feed you a gourmet lunch and allow you to select activities such as splashing in their lake and practicing their zipline course. It's really too bad that in the mornings you'll work on a service project--of your choosing, with your friends who will be attending as well--for credit hours towards those required by your school. Also, I'm truly sorry (not even a little bit) for substituting a 10-day sojourn to California--where some of the highlights might include touring San Francisco, seeing redwood forests, visiting the Pacific Ocean, and hiking nearby mountains--for our previously planned week-long East Coast road trip. Somehow, I think you'll survive, get over the trauma, and maybe, just maybe, even condescend to enjoy these Summer activities.
So, it's clearly time for all of us at Team WestEnders to shift into Summer mode. Now, everybody go outside and run around...Mom needs a nap!