Summertime Blues

Man, this has been a weird summer. This is the first summer where it didn’t feel like a house with kids and two working parents. It’s felt like a house with adults and almost-adults doing adult things; like working, getting wisdom teeth removed, arguing, bickering, buying new appliances to replace broken ones, looking for a car for the soon-to-be driving teen, and just general non-fun things.

It’s kind of a bummer.

Summer was always such a fun time(once our youngest was old enough to be self sufficient, that is.) Sleeping in, renting movies, spending the night at grandma and grandpa’s house, and trips to the zoo were always things we looked forward to. There would be one big trip we’d save and plan for, then the rest of the summer was a play it by ear sort of thing. My oldest would have two or three big get-togethers at our house with all of her friends, and I’d grill burgers and dogs or buy two or three pizzas for them to devour. Marvel would always have a movie or two for us to look forward to at the cinema. There was just a general feeling of chill(most of the time…c’mon, we’ve got three kids so it’s not always chill.)

Simpler times, my wife and son at Legoland, 2013.

This summer was a rude awakening to just how quick time goes by. The kids are all old enough to know that everyone is annoying and doing things to annoy them. Two out of the three work, one full-time. None of them drive, so on top of being a full-time employee from 7 to 3pm, I’m also an Uber driver to various work locations(as is my wife.) Our youngest spent his first 3 weeks of vacation in summer gym, then summer band directly afterwards. Now my 16-year old is in summer school taking history and also working at a custard shop. The oldest is working at a local factory 40 hours a week saving money for her sorority dues. She overlaps by a half hour from my job, so instead of going home I have to sit in a steaming hot car in the parking lot waiting for her(it was 93 degrees today.) There’s still all the normal stuff that needs done like grocery shopping, yardwork, house cleaning, laundry, cooking dinner, and so on and so forth. When they were smaller the kids would be home with nowhere to go. Easy peasy lemon squeezie, all is done and no big deal. But now? Everyone is busy and has places to go and people to see.

I know this is the natural process of your children becoming adults, but man this summer has been extra difficult. We’re in the middling phase where they’re not little anymore, but they’re not completely grown up and taking care of their own lives. It’s sort of like my wife and I are running a hostel and our children are the long-term tenants that forget to pay us rent, buy food, or clean up after themselves. But they’re charming and polite enough that we don’t kick them out.

Lake Erie, Kingsville, Ontario

A couple weeks ago we did take our big vacation. We went to Kingsville, Ontario and stayed on Lake Erie for four days. It was a lovely house with an astounding view of the lake. I sat out in the sun and soaked up rays more in three days than I had in the past ten years, and it was great. It was four days of relaxation and quiet reflection. Of course, nobody could agree on what to watch or what to do or where to go. Nobody wanted to get up and around at the same time, and everyone was always in everyone else’s way. Of course cleaning skills were forgotten, petty nitpicking was had, and by the end of it it felt like that 4,200 square foot vacation home was the size a double wide.

But at least I wasn’t an Uber for a couple days.

I know this is just me being sad about the fact my kids are older and this was probably the last summer we’ll all spend together and take a trip as a family. I wish it could’ve been more fun and less being an adult to almost adult kids. I’m mad at myself for being aggravated so much and not just living in the moment. I feel like we didn’t make it a special enough summer. But really, when so many days have been in the upper 90s and Netflix is always streaming what else are you supposed to do?

I can’t call a mulligan on the summer, but there’s always fall break.

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