I am convicted by the above
verse. After having kids around the house all summer, the only
“clothe-ing” going on in my household involves their wet swimsuits and
towels littering the floor. And I can guarantee, I do not feel
compassion, kindness, humility . . . And the only thing holy
is hole-y and in need of mending.
I know why Labor Day is at the
end of summer. It’s the day mothers question whether the fruit of their
labor pains was worth the price. Ask us the question on Memorial Day
and we’ll bore you with sentimental memories of our children’s first
teeth, or our wistful tears as they trotted off to kindergarten. Ask
the question on Labor Day and we’ll growl, “I’ll give you three kids
for a buck ninety-eight. Will that be cash, check or credit card?”
School days, school
days, dear old Golden Rule days…
The Golden Rule is mentioned in
those lyrics to remind our children of the existence of rules. You
know. Those guidelines parents set up in June, revise in July, and
throw in the recycling bin in August?
You may not go swimming until
one hour after eating.
Here, take a sandwich with you.
Come inside when the street
lights turn on.
Be sure to lock up.
To be fair, the summer holiday
involves compromise on both sides. I was used to grabbing a Snickers
bar for lunch and the kids were used to school lunches packed with
vitamins and minerals. But during the summer I hide my stash of
Snickers and stock up on peanut butter and Lunchables. Have you tried
the Pizza & Treatza one? Yum.
Summertime is costly for those
families whose parents both work outside the home. Day-care expenses
make you ask: Not only are the kids out of school, but have
to pay money for the privilege?
Those of us who work at home
dream of day care. It’s a bit hard to concentrate when a trail of
flip-flops bisect the house, the smell of burnt cookies waft out of the
kitchen, and the alien sounds of video games make us contemplate the
construction of a stockade in the backyard. (I wonder if the library
has a how-to book, perhaps shelved under child psychology?)
Bear with each other
and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you…
I should clarify. I love my
kids. Cross my heart and hope to . . . but they make me tired.
I considered buying three season
tickets to the Royals. Let’s see . . . eighty-one home games at four
hours a game equals 324 hours when my darlings won’t be asking me The
And what is The Question? Come
on parents, you can ace this quiz.
Is The Question:
A. We’re tired. What can we do
B. We’re hungry. What can we do
C. We’re bored. What can we do
The Question is: All or any of
the above depending on the barometric pressure, the peanut butter
deficit, and the number of neighbor kids glaring at me from the
In a usual summer, I hear and
attempt to answer The Question two hundred eighty-three times. I start
the summer with good intentions—and good answers.
“Ask Erin over. Play school.
Read a book.”
But around the thirty-forth
asking (during day four) my answers and my patience show signs of
“Are you sure Erin’s parents
don’t want another child? Go pick the lock on the school. Watch a
I answer Question number 274
with a primal grunt. In response to Question number 275, I snarl.
Intent on testing their mother’s new vocabulary to the fullest, my
children continue through Question number 283, when they notice my
incisors appear to be sharpening. I never hear The Question again. Hey,
I didn’t raise no dumb kids.
And over all these
virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity…
I know as the end of summer
glows on the horizon and the aura of back-to-school entices, I’ll give
anything to hear the thud of elephant feet and the wails of, “But, Mom,
do we have to?” I’ll look back on chaotic summers with a bittersweet
reflection. Guilt will sit on my shoulders until I admit my
Until next year.