School gets out in mid-May around these parts, which means we begin our summer vacation in Uggs and fur-lined hats with ear flaps. Meanwhile by the middle of August, while the rest of America is just hitting its summer stride, here in Nebraska we’re gearing up for the start of school.
Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate summer as much as the next mom. Fireflies, sleeping past 6:30 a.m., hamburgers on paper plates, no soccer practice or choir rehearsal or long division – there’s a lot to love about summer.
But here’s my theory: summer is one week too long.
Ten weeks, I’m good. Bring on the water balloons and the badminton. Isn’t it so great to have no schedule? So much freedom! So much relaxation! Summer is the best!
But then comes the eleventh week, mocking my “Summer is so great!” enthusiasm, shredding my easy-going attitude, flaunting its seven slow-as-the-last-two-teaspoons-of-molasses-in-the-bottom-of-the-jar days in my face.
This summer, I’ve finally learned to recognize the five signs that indicate summer is over, done, finito for me:
1. Exercise becomes my favorite pastime.
By the seventy-first day of summer my exercise routine looks like Shaun T’s Insanity Workout for one reason and one reason only: the longer I exercise, the longer I’m out of the house. Two days ago I ran six miles for the first time in three years, despite the fact that it was 400 percent humidity outside. A mere 4.5 seconds into my run I looked like I’d been basking beneath the Pulse Kauai II Rain Shower System. By the time I finished, I had just enough energy left to splay my body on to the sunroom rug. I felt like my dog’s destuffified Wubby. But hey, I was still sane. That’s something, right?
2.My kids use the word ennui.
“Mommy,” I think I have that thing you keep saying you have,” Rowan says. “What’s that, honey?”
My eyes are on my phone, mindlessly scrolling.
“You know, that on the wii thing. The things you always say when you do this” — flings himself onto the sofa, limbs askance, crook of his elbow over his eyes, exhales dramatically through pursed lips.
You know you’ve entered the eleventh week of summer vacation when your nine-year-old son knows the meaning of ennui and can use it correctly in a sentence.
3. A trip to Lowe’s is as good as it gets.
I am frisbeed, miniature golfed, zooed, Cherry Berried, water parked, picnicked, crafted, movied, hiked, road tripped, beached, badmintonned, biked, sleepovered, s’mored, camped, water ballooned and museumed out. It’s a trip to Lowe’s in search of a new toilet seat, people. Get in the car, that’s all I’ve got.
4. Minecraft is now my native tongue.
I have lost all ability to converse with adults my age about topics appropriate for adults my age. Instead, I could teach a graduate-level class on Minecraft biomes. Go ahead, ask me about the Nether. Talk to me about Enderman. I now have a closer relationship with player Steve than I do with my own husband (If you don’t have a clue what I’m talking about, you don’t have boys under age 12 living under your roof).
5. I have entered spacetime…or the fourth dimension…or something funky like that.
Time has slowed to a crawl. One hour is now equivalent to 35 hours, which mathematically looks like this: Δσ=8²x∛45+[Σ∞34ψ]. In English, this means my children have approximately 35 hours of screen time each hour. Ordinarily I would feel guilty about allowing my children to indulge in 35 hours of screen time per hour. However, during the eleventh week of summer, I fail to notice because I am splayed on the sun room floor like a destuffed wubby and suffering from a grave case of ennui.
You may be right smack in the blissful seventh week of summer right now, but beware. The eleventh week is right around the corner. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.