You can see it in their eyes. It’s almost back to school time around here.
For the past two weeks, when I bump into moms I know who still have school-age youngsters, our conversation is always the same.
Me: “Hi! How’s your summer going?”
Them: “Well, we had fun, but I’m ready for school to start. The kids are getting restless.”
Restless translates to they bicker 24/7, want French toast made at 5 a.m. and are watching too much TV.
Anyone who has raised a child knows that the absence of school is a vacation for the children, but not always so much for mom. It is wonderful to stop setting an alarm clock and to skip that morning madhouse of getting them out the door. You don’t miss packing lunches or the nightly struggle with homework.
But somewhere around the middle of August, that glee is tempered with certain mood dampeners. Their little eyes begin glazing over with a look that says, “It’s too hot to go outside. Give me something to do that is fabulously distracting, and I don’t mean clean my room.”
You have driven them to and from junior lifeguards or skate camp or horse camp or art class and friend’s houses. You still have dark circles under your eyes from the last three sleepovers. The kids might still enjoy the beach, but their sunburns are peeling and they probably have swimmer’s ear. Besides, you are a bit weary of dragging sandy beach chairs, towels, bags, Boogie boards, food and children from car to laundry room and shower and kitchen.
A wheel has come off the skateboard and the springs broke on the squirt guns. The balls are deflated, the sidewalk chalk got wet and the kids don’t even jump up when they hear the ice cream man anymore.
You know that you should start getting them to bed at a decent hour again or those first weeks of school will be a foggy-brained disaster. You also know they will still be up until midnight on that last Sunday night.
I do love my summer weeks when my schedule gets a lot of wiggle room, but I just can’t lie to these women.
I do not envy them during these final days. I could only be a buzzkill by telling them that now the days may drag, but the time will come when they even miss shopping for school supplies.
My nest has been pretty full of grown kids this summer, but they most decidedly do not look to me for diversion. They sleep late and spare no time getting out the door. If they slow down, I break out my “list.” There’s no help like the help of a 20-something child who knows they owe you.
Jean Gillette is the Community News editor for The Coast News Group. As a journalist, she primarily worked in San Clemente and Los Angeles. She has been with the Coast News for 20 years and lives in La Costa.