I packed my first school lunch last night. And I am filled with regret, not relief. I could’ve done better this summer.
I’ve been toying with the idea of regret and less than spectacular parenting off and on this summer. But whenever I decided “tomorrow, I’ll write the post tomorrow,” tomorrow happened, and it was magical. I was present in the boys lives, not mulling over to-do lists and things to get lists; daydreaming of other, better places; tormenting my soul with conversations that will never happen. We had fun. They learned. I learned. All was right in the world.
But then the other nights I went to bed and tried to recount what we did and what we didn’t do. Crafts were not done. Workbook pages were ignored. Science projects left undone. Outings postponed. Errands were run. Shouting, nagging, yelling were practiced to get clothes on, teeth brushed, toys picked up, clothes put away.
I had so many wonderful plans. But then there was the packing, the moving, the unpacking, the organizing, the cleaning. They had swim lessons and sports classes that chewed up the morning of Family Fun Day. Tornado A needed naps. Without having to be woken up to get a brother from school, the kid napped three hours every day. Dinners, lunches, and breakfasts had to be made and consumed. There was a constant struggle to put toys away. Every day we trooped over to my parents’ house to swim, so that Tornado S could practice. The day burned away.
But I stop and think about the summer and view it from their eyes. Their friends came over and played with them while their mom left them alone as she packed. They made houses with boxes, decorating them with markers before the boxes were filled with stuff. They went swimming twice a day, nearly every day. They spent the night at their grandparents’ house. They had a whole ground floor to play in without their mother if they didn’t wake her. They could chase each other around and around the house. They found new hiding places. They decorated their bedroom. They fought water droplet monsters and learned to water the grass. They got new video games and new books. They learned about chapter books. They got a blow-up pool with a slide. They danced in the rain, painted their faces with sunscreen, and discovered Rango. They went to a hotel and ate pizza and played in a waterfall.
I guess it wasn’t that bad of a summer.
I still regret not doing kick-the-can ice cream.
*I have been watching a lot of movies of female protagonists kicking ass. Most of them crappy, except the one alluded to here. Blame my father. He felt Red Sonja was an appropriate role model and had me watch the movie when ever it was on. I think he toyed with the notion of me learning some self-defense art just so that a guy would have to best me at it to win a date. In the end, he settled on reminding boys that he carried a gun.
August 15, 2011 at 10:55 pm
This was a super busy summer. Don’t be too hard on yourself. To me, it sounds like they had a lot of fun! Plus, when I was a kid, I loved being out of routine and having time to use my imagination. We need to let kids do that more, not less!
August 16, 2011 at 1:32 pm
That’s what the kiddos will remember. WE GOTZ A NEW HOUSE WITH LOTS OF SPACE!
They will remember totally different things than you, particularly if you never tell them what your plans actually were.
August 16, 2011 at 2:07 pm
Fie~ You know, as a parent, we have super high standards. Our kids just want to have fun, any fun.
unircorm~ You’re right, of course.
August 17, 2011 at 9:01 pm
*LOL* My dad and I watched Red Sonja too. I totally get what you’re saying because I feel the same way. Even though they had tons of fun, I don’t feel we’ve accomplished as much as I wanted.
August 18, 2011 at 1:35 pm
We’re just so hard on oruselves. Red Sonja fans, unite!