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The Mom Who Ruined Summer

It’s getting closer – I can feel it in every bone. The 6th is coming…I think I ask myself on here every year if it will always be this way. We’re actually going to observe on the 5th. And Will and Arien won’t be around because they’re going on a college group camping trip. Monday is the 6th and David will be off to Water and Work week at camp and I’ll be driving Ben up for his week of Special camp. And that night Will and the Littles will be involved with VBS.  It'll be a busy day - as if in the busyness I'll be giving credence to the fact that life does, indeed, go on after death.

Last Thursday, though, it occurred to me that I had survived. Paul died the Wed. night following Will’s Saturday graduation party, and I know, at least in the beginning of the school year, Ben had been concerned about losing me after his party because graduations and death are now tied up together in all our minds. But I made it past Wed. and I’m still here, obviously.

We had such a fun night last night. Will and Arien had the idea to have her entire family come out, which they all did (except for her dad who had to work). We grilled hot dogs and brats and I made up a pan of Ben’s sliders leftover from the party. We played silly games that Will made up and then a thunderstorm rolled in so we went in the house, all 15 of us, and ate my strawberry dessert and watched some Studio C videos (clean, very funny on-line skits) and then played a couple of board games. We need to do that again.

David and I had chiropractic appointments this morning. I was hurtling across I-80 and the kids pointed out the driver in the car next to us. He was in a brand new car, no license plate with just an in-transit card in the window, no tinted windows and he sat there, driving with his knees, apparently, texting with both hands. Oh, it made me so mad that he was endangering MY family like that! I wanted to find a cop, flag him down, and tell him to nail this guy. And he wasn’t even being young and dumb. He was at least my age.
Sam says I am, “ruining his summer.” Over the weekend Will sent me an article that had been floating around Facebook about kids getting addicted to their devices and being purposeful in your parenting about limiting screen time for younger kids. Yes, but they make such good babysitters…that night he asked if I had read the article and then suggested that I make afternoons this summer screen free for the kids – unless it’s raining, which the sky kind of looks like it might start up soon with that today. I thought about it for awhile and I decided it was a good idea. I don’t want to be a hyper type of parent and only allow my kids minimal minimal time on the computer, their tablets, and the tv, but I also recognize they’re getting way too much of that time. So I sat the kids down yesterday morning and told them that once their chores are done in the morning and if I don’t need them for something else (like doing academic type review work I want to do with them over the summer) then they are welcome to watch tv or play on their tablets until lunch time or after supper. That’s when Sam informed me I was “ruining his summer.” I expected more protests out of the girls than I did from him.  That's probably a clue that he needs this screen-free time more than any of them.

Of course, the down side of that is that the kids have to find ways to entertain themselves in the afternoons and Sam just came in the house and informed me that he broke a drill bit because he decided to drill on a deer antler out in the garage. That wouldn’t have happened if he’d been playing Minecraft…

David’s birthday was last Friday. That was also the last day of school. That morning, before the bus came, Sam realized it was his brother’s birthday so he immediately retrieved a 4X6 card and envelope and began writing a message to David. I didn’t read it until later when I was wrapping presents. I was expecting this sweet, sentimental, “Happy birthday to the best brother in the world” type of message. The outside of the envelope read, “Happy Birthday, from Sam, to David: When I say this, I mean it” and then he drew a smiley face. On the inside, the card read, “Happy birthday David. I like your birthday because I know it’s the last day at school. Happy birthday!!!” Wow…that’s some sentimentality to treasure!

Now, Ellie, on the other hand…I was really impressed with her. She is actually beginning to display some of the scary smarts that Lizzie has. The day before David’s birthday, all on her own, she went downstairs and retrieved yarn and beads. She wouldn’t show me what she was doing until David unwrapped his gifts on Friday evening. She had made him a “Hawk-eye” necklace, carefully stringing, over and over again, sets of two black and yellow beads. Then she found the wrapping paper and tape, wrapped it up with yards of tape and asked me how to spell David’s name. I was busy at the time but told her to hang on and I’d write it down for her. Well, unbeknownst to me she went into my closet where apparently, she realized that I had all my kids’ names hanging on my prayer board. She wrote down, “WILL” on the paper, thinking it read, “David” which was kind of cute but mostly impressive. How on earth did she know I had the names in there?

I took Ben to get his ID today. I’ve needed to do that since he turned 18 – finally had the time. It’s a non-driving license, basically. He’ll need it for employment.  I was also able to register him to vote at the same time, which was something else on my to-do list that needed to happen before this Nov.

There’s a couple of Democrats running for something right now (State senate, maybe?). They both have very similar ads, talking about how their fathers died when they were boys and if it hadn’t been for Social Security, their poor, widowed mothers would not have made it – the implication being, of course, that the big, bad Republicans can’t wait to ax Social Security. They aired one the other day in which the voice-over says, “So and so lost his father at a young age…” Sam listened to that and then very seriously commented, “Well, I lost my father at a young age. How come I’m not on tv, too?”

Lizzie came home from school with a number of notebooks in which she’d been journaling all year for school assignments. I thought her last story was particularly interesting. She writes,

Once upon a time there was a pig but the pig had spots. And the name was Dotdy, the pig. He was very different from the others and did not like it. His mom, Sarah said, “Be glad for how God made you.”

Ooh, that kind of made my heart hurt.  Today I sought out some information on Juneteenth celebrations in our state.  I think I'm going to plan on driving the girls over to Cedar Rapids for one in a couple of weeks.  Maybe that will help.

Well, not much else to report today. I’ll spend the rest of today with Ben and the Littles. David is at church coloring stuff for VBS and Will will be gone all evening shopping for food for his camping trip. I think I’ll just keep checking stuff off my to-do list. I bought all the needed supplies for stripping the upstairs landing and repainting and polyeurothaning it. Quite a few years I painted the floor white but it immediately turned yellow after I sealed it. I never knew why until I googled it the other day and found that oil based polys will always turn white paint yellow. So now I know. After I get the floor done, then I’m going to tackle the upstairs bathroom – taking down the old wallpaper border we put up 11 yrs ago and repainting.

Will got my kitchen sink faucet unit installed yesterday. That is making me smile. The water spout part arches really high so I can easily fill buckets and other things like that. David says it’s “too fancy” for our kitchen, but I don’t think so.

I’ll be back sometime next week…and I will have passed the three year mark by then.

Three whole years.

That’s a long time.


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