Don’t Lick Your Sister (and Other Things I Say Out Loud on Summer Vacation)

IMG_1790For H and S’s first summer, I alternated between figuring out how to be a mommy of newborn twins – and crying my eyes out every time “You’re Gonna Miss This” played on CMT.

OH, Trace Adkins. I know, I know! The days DO fly by, already. I try to hold onto the little moments, the newness, even the how-will-I-ever vulnerability. But the next minute I’m cursing at the breast pump or the Diaper Genie, while all three of us cry for entirely different reasons.

Fast forward five years: I hate to admit it, but this summer is feeling an awful lot like that one. But with a different soundtrack.

“Ma! She’s driving McQueen on me! Cars don’t drive on people!”

“Maaaaaaaa! She won’t get out of my way! I want to color on the easel!

“Mooommmmeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! She erased my picture!”

“How do you spell, ‘Wishing-you-lots-of-love-because-I-love-you?’”

“How come lunch is taking so long?”

Yup, school is out for the summer again. Before this year, all that meant to me was that the weather changed. This year, it arrived with a little more context (and emotion) as it marks our transition from preschool to kindergarten. (See “Here We (Let) Go Again: Goodbye, Pre-school)

And an unspoken demand that every day Must. Be. Exciting. It’s all, “I want to color and swim and play on the swings” and “I don’t want you to work or run errands or do anything else, except for watch me color and swim and play on the swings.” This. Minute. Their need for constant entertainment does not include watching me juggle all the things I used to do while they were in school with keeping them busy and content. I’m filling the days with swimming, crafts, play dates, frozen treats, day-trips and destinations and trying to spin grocery shopping as a fun family activity. (“Don’t look at me like that. You like to eat, don’t you?”) And they’re still whining, fighting – and bored. Raise your hand if you can still remember what that feels like.

While an official break from educational stuff is a good thing, it’s reduced my use of the English language to the following sentences:

“Stop yanking on the shades!”

“Don’t stick your fingers in there!”

“You can’t spin around in the aisles! You’re knocking stuff off the shelves!”

“Sing quietly! The whole store doesn’t want to be ‘Part of Your World.’”

“Don’t lick your sister!”

(“But I was pretending to be a puppy,” she replies, for which I have neither the words nor the energy left to reply.)

Often by 9 AM on any given day, I’ve heard, “Mommmyyyyy?” so many times for so many different reasons I’m ready to say, “Why do you keep calling me?!” Sometimes, I do.

That’s when I realize she came to find me (usually when I’m in the bathroom) because she’s made me a picture. That says, “Mommy, I love you the most.” She remembered how to spell the words all by herself. I feel like such a jerk. And I’m grateful for the chance to convince her I’m not – and to remember this summer for all the reasons we’re supposed to. For the “dolphin rides” I give them in our (temporary Intex) pool (that took my husband more time and effort to put up than a real pool would have.) A record number of visits to Crumbs Bake Shop and Peachwave (which we are making a good start on in Week Two!) Mid-afternoon snuggles even though the girls don’t take naps anymore. Mixing strawberry, blueberry and raspberry muffins, and picking out special things to make together when we go to the grocery store.

We’re making memories already. And while sometimes it’s easier to pull out my hair than to find humor in the girls’ aisle-spinning, scream-singing, sister-licking routine, I know one day I will miss this, too. Like at the end of August, when I’ll want to throw myself in front of the school bus instead of watching it drive my babies off to kindergarten.

But while I work on keeping it all in a healthy, happy perspective, it’ll be a little easier to kiss H and S goodbye at half-day camp next week. They need it: the freedom, the adventure, the time to appreciate coming home a little more. And maybe, just maybe, so do I.