Last August I dropped my first-born off at Kindergarten, drove home and cried the entire day.
Today is her last day of school and I am again spending the entire day crying, but for the exact opposite reason. Three long months of togetherness with a 3, 4 and 6-year-old are staring me in the face and it is terrifying. Yes, before they started school we had tons of together time, but back then I just didn’t know any better. I forgot how sweet the taste of freedom really was and I don’t know if I have the strength to go back to that place.
This year my two youngest have both been in pre-school which translates into, after drop off and pick up time, exactly two hours and twenty minutes three times a week all to myself. Two hours and twenty minutes isn’t really enough time to do much of anything, except renew my sanity. One day I run errands – AKA get my toes done or shop for potted plants. The next day I go for a glorious, long outside walk. Something I used to do all the time but had to table once I had kids because I come close enough to a heart attack without pushing a jogging stroller filled with 70 pounds of kid up the hill. And the third day… wait. I’m verklempt. I need a tissue to mourn the loss of the third day. The third day I take a super long shower. I might even shave my legs. Then I lay on my bed in my big fuzzy bathrobe and watch whatever the heck I want, usually Anthony Bourdain. Sometimes I don’t even turn on the TV. Sometimes I just bask in the silence as I stare at the wall. *pours glass of Hennesy onto bed*
I remember my Mom getting twitchy as the school year neared an end. We had an inverse reaction, she and I. I got happier, she got twitchier. And now I know why. The fighting, oh the fighting. My sisters and I would get along for about five minutes before we started tearing each other’s hair out. It was like putting three cats in a box and shaking it. She used to force us outside and make us run laps around the house. And now I get it. In a few hours the final school bell will toll, and it tolls for thee.
I am about to share something shocking – not everyone feels this way. “I can’t wait until school is out,” my friend said last week. “Everything is so laid back. The kids can sleep in, we can move at our own pace – the hustle bustle of the school year will finally be over.”
I looked at her like she had grown a second head before my eyes. “…Tell me more of this… sleeping in… of which you speak,” I said. Sleeping in? Slower pace? Hustle and bustle? For me, it doesn’t get much better than the euphoria I feel burning rubber out of the carpool lane knowing my bathrobe and daytime TV are waiting for me at home. I turned to my other friend who also declared herself as a member of camp Can’t Wait.
“Oh I know! We just all need a break!”
Break? Nothing about being home for three months with a 3, 4 and 6-year-old conjures up images of anything even remotely related to a “break”.
It was then that I realized there are two distinct camps when it comes to kids and summer: Camp Can’t Wait and Camp Holy Shit. I fall into the latter.
My friends told me I’m supposed to “prepare”, or make a summer “plan” of some sort. Apparently writing “PBS Kids” down on a piece of paper and taping it to the fridge does not constitute a plan. So now I am preparing for summer like I am preparing for war. I went to the Dollar Store and bought a whole bunch of reading and math workbooks and after a healthy breakfast, we’re going to start each summer day with at least 30 minutes of a learning activity. I expect this to last one day, maybe two if I buy some chocolate and bribe them.
I spent two hours last night researching things to do in St. Louis, and made a big master list. At the top of said list are all of the free places to take your kids. On top of that are all the free places to take your kids that serve alcohol. And at the very tip top of that list are free places to take your kids that serve free alcohol.
Hello Grant’s Farm… my summer lover.
We actually cheated and went earlier this week, before my eldest was out of school. Of course I swore my younger two to secrecy because her head would explode if she knew we went without her. As far as she knows we were eating broccoli and practicing arithmetic.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the live animal shows, camel rides, Budweiser Clydesdales, bird cage and the goats (oh the goats)…
But there are two cool new additions this year. First, they have trainer-led pony rides. And lemme tell ya, this little girl will now die happy.
Second, every Friday night in June Grant’s Farm is staying open late for “Family Flicks Night.” The outdoor experience (in the Bauernhof) costs $15 for adults and $10 for children age 2-10 (free admission for kids 2 and under). Admission includes parking, a hot dog, chips, popcorn, a beverage and beer for guests 21 and older. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the movie starts around 8 p.m., after the sun sets.
Scheduled movies include:
– June 5 – Dolphin Tale
– June 12 – Lego Movie
– June 19 – The Boxtrolls
– June 26 – How to Train Your Dragon 2
Tickets can be purchased online at etix.com.
Hope to see you there. You’ll recognize me because I’ll be the harried one in the corner rocking back and forth as my girls enter into their tenth straight hour of fighting over a broken crayon. And to all other parents right there with me in Camp Holy Shit… good luck and godspeed. Catch ya on the flip side.
DISCLOSURE: I was provided services, goods and/or monetary compensation for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.