"Only nine more days of school left!" my kids excitedly told me this morning.
"Oh Mother of the Mothers," I prayed, "Give me strength and while you’re at it, can you throw a few good craft ideas my way?"
Every summer, mothers around the country (who really do secretly love their children, especially when they’re in school) think the same thing when summer vacation arrives each May – how or how will I ever keep them from killing each other?
"The first two weeks and the last two weeks of summer vacation are the worst," my friend Diane confided in me several years ago. "During those four weeks, my kids are bored out of their minds. The first two weeks they have no idea how to entertain themselves, so I end up officiating wrestling matches so vicious that one of them inevitably ends up covered in ice packs and bandages from head to toe. By the time the last two weeks of summer vacation arrive, we’ve already played every board game ever invented, done every craft imaginable including decorating our flip-flops, and swam in every public and private pool. We’ve camped in every campground within a 50-mile radius and created so many pictures and hopscotch games on our driveway with sidewalk chalk that our lungs have been permanently damaged from ingesting chalk dust."
Let’s face it. When inherit the coveted title of "Mother," we don’t turn automatically into camp counselors full of ideas on how to entertain children. Whether we like it or not, being a desperate mother of chronically bored children does turn is into scary imitations of our own mothers. When one of my children says, "I’m bored!" for the 400th time in one afternoon, I catch myself repeating the same phrase my mother used on me as a child, "I have plenty of chores for you to do around here if you’re THAT bored." By the end of the summer, I find myself coming up with the same ideas for games as my mother did. "Build a fort with sheets!" I exclaim with feigned excitement. "Play pirate ship on the couch and one of you be the shark in the water!" I yell from the kitchen while attempting to cook dinner.
"Not fun, Mom!" they answer to each of my wonderful suggestions.
Feeling very desperate with 10 long days to go until school starts again, I shout, "Why don’t you have one of your famous wrestling matches?"
Dead silence. "But Mom, at the beginning of the summer, you told us if we do that again, you’re going to mail us in a box to the World Wrestling Federation!"
"I was just kidding!" I smile widely, "Now have at each other!"
As they tear into each other on the floor, I stand back with my arms folded across my chest and sigh. I know in just a few days, they’ll return to school and I’ll wonder what I did with myself from August to May last year, but then suddenly, it all comes back to me.
Every day, I built a fort with sheets, did crafts, and colored pictures.
I’ll do anything to keep from doing chores.