Ambivalent on the Last Day of the Summer Vacation

Today is the last day of the summer vacation. The kids are sprawled around the house, lazily going about their own business. It’s our last day to get up late, stay in pajamas until well after mid-day, not have to be anywhere particular at a specific time…

All this will change on Monday. We’ll be back to early wake ups, rushed breakfasts and hurried school drop-offs. Homework will start accumulating again, requests for school volunteering will start coming, along with demands for driving to play-dates and after-school activities. In other words, we’ll be back on the rat-race that is modern US parenting.

I love summers. Even busy summers like the one we just had (of which you will surly hear in future posts). You can’t always tell that by looking at me during the summer itself, however. Being with kids all day, every day, for weeks on end sure has it’s challenges.

The constant bickering, for one. It starts in the morning, when more than one child wakes up, and lasts ALL DAY LONG: “He breathed on me,” “her elbow touched my leg,” “who ate the last piece of pie?!” They can fight over matters so small, you need a microscope to see them. They can even squabble over issues that do not exist at all!

Then there is the constant mess: jackets, shoes, towels and socks–SOCKS!!–all over and everywhere. You don’t know how many dishes hide in the kitchen until summer comes and they all come out… All of a sudden you find yourself loading the dishwasher three times a day. Pots and pans accumulate at an astonishing speed, and somehow always seem to be there, even if you assign the kids with dish-washing chores…

Did I mention the laundry? Piles of it, all the time?!

Folding laundry

And, you can’t do any of your own work. At least, I can’t. I haven’t created or sewed anything all summer long. Even my Etsy shop went on vacation, so that I could spend time with the kids. I missed my fabrics and my machine, and the summer traveling was SO inspirational! Ideas for new creations kept buzzing in my head, racing around, urging to be tried. My fingers itched for some fabric … But I had to suppress it all, save the ideas for a later time.

Yet, although I’m looking forward to uninterrupted days; to mornings of dropping the kids off at school and then returning to my sewing room to play with fabrics; I still feel sad that the summer is over. Just like I do every year at this time.

Because although the kids can be annoying, they are also fun to be around. Their constant noise makes the house feel lively. Showing them the world allows me to see things from new points of view. Having them with me challenges me to try new things, go to new places, eat new foods. My kids are also big enough now to actually help around the house: we completed the Big Clean Up that used to take us weeks in half the usual time (and yes, I still think it’s a great kid summer activity!). They even helped with the garden, though THAT took some forcing…

After the Big Clean Up: Collecting Donations

Besides, I acutely realize that my time with the kids is limited, and with the older ones–drawing to an end. They are getting bigger and bigger by the day, and will soon start leaving the nest and building their own lives. I greatly cherish the opportunity to spend time with them, as long as I can, even though I’m also eager to resume my own life…

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