A friend and I were recently talking about how we loved the idea of summer; the chicks are in the nest, there are fewer commitments, and the days are replete with possibilities for spontaneity. This should be a carefree time, full of laughter and alternating periods of frolicking and lassitude. Note the should be part.
The reality of summer is this: all that spontaneity takes a mammoth amount of work. That sunscreen doesn't slather itself liberally over the kids. Those snacks won't pack themselves. Jumping up and saying, "Hey! Let's go to the pool!" is an invitation to the best Keystone Cops impersonation in PA; everyone runs pell-mell trying to squirm into their swimsuits, while I chase each one in turn, brandishing my SPF 495. As I lube my children, each one with skin whiter and more transparent than the last, they twitch with excitement. When I tell them that I have to get a few more things ready, there is a palpable threat of behavioral implosion as they jockey for position at the garage door. It has come to fisticuffs and we haven't even left the driveway. When will I learn to SAY NOTHING about possible post-lunch plans until we are pulling into the pool parking lot?
Despite all of this chaos, we still subscribe to the Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Philosophy. We may not achieve it, but we still believe it. This summer promises to be busier than most due to all of the medical adventures in store for The Boy. I began to schedule them this afternoon, after his therapy double-feature in the morning. I was already in a foul mood because the dishwasher is broken, as well as my toe. (No, I did not break my toe kicking the dishwasher, but that thought did cross my mind.) I didn't feel like scheduling thirty different appointments, I felt like succumbing to something quintessentially summery by sprawling out on the couch with my book and a sweet tea. I am not on the cusp of becoming a non-compliant parent, but I do feel like all of these tests are cramping our already spontaneity-deficient lifestyle. It's fast becoming a fun-free zone around here and it's a drag. It's not what summer is supposed to be.
I hate to sound like I am complaining, I really do, but it just bubbles up to the surface every now and then. I have not lost complete perspective; I can still keep my bearings in the forest despite the fact that we are hemmed in by trees on all sides. I am so grateful that, in the grand scheme of things, my child is undergoing relatively simple tests. He's not on an organ donor list; I'm not clutching his hand while he receives chemotherapy; and I have not been asked to return him to heaven, as some of my friends have been. I don't have to endure the heartbreak of knowing that your child may not be fixable. It's why I don't dwell too much in the future, the realm of protracted what-if scenarios.
So our summer is shaping up like this: lots of sun and chlorine, mixed with a generous dollop of a couple of organized vacations, and flecked with equal amounts of day trips and doctor's appointments. Sprinkle everything with some raucous laughter, and I am hoping that we've got a recipe that will sustain us through the roller-coaster of a summer we've got in store.