it’s summer so as usual I don’t sign the kids up for camps cause, I’m a rebel…cheapskate, masochist? Oh well, they’re stuck with me. I want them to grab hold of the spontaneous whims that surge forth in their pea sized idea-filled, adolescent brains- answer the call that childhood summers afford them. Nothing makes me happier than when they pick up a pocket knife and whittle a stick, learn to bake a pie, like those fifties moms who raised us; sew on a button, box their sibling until the’re bloody, you know, recreate my own childhood without the absent father and the chain smoking household. I mean let’s be honest, PG-13 when we were kids had boobs and all, but kids today in regards to everything un-sex related, will be cluelessly boring.
My tender moment this summer, despite my anti-gun rants, was actually my son and his buddy-packing their pellet guns in their guitar cases, heading for the creek to terrify squirrels in the name of boyhood fun. I didn’t even yell “watch out for that ONE house where they sell heroin… or the other one where those dudes are prostituting teen girls, I just said, “have fun bring, your cell phone!” I savor moments like I enjoyed, unmonitored, treated like furniture, to be seen and not heard, but damn we have character today. We shot Bee bee guns on the pond, had secret excursions with the weird red haired kid that lived next door, desperately trying to peek at my girl parts yes cause they didn’t already know everything from twerking to full screen every day overtly sexual EVERYTHING from cereal to sports to Disney channel, they needed to get a peek back then. I knew very well back when where there were boys and there were girls…there was some mystery- or was he a harmless perve. At least back then, you could tell the difference. In the overly sexualized, sex craved media world we live in today it’s a toss up whose a perve or a swinger or just keeping up with the times?
Anyway…. and I had to get home for Three’s company so the next door kid needn’t worry if I googled to inquire his predator status today. I was unworried-or too into my Shirley Temple movies practicing my tap dancing behind closed doors….rather than practicing humping the air or doing the pussy dip they do now.
This summer I have even heard my kids sing!…a complete song, separate from songs on the radio-they have time to sit and wonder, what it feels like to be bored, to have to think up an activity without my help, to sit under the shade of their back yard tree and hear what their own voice sounds like. And I don’t mean to be preachy, but it felt good.
What I seem to forget about factoring in is- me. How they come find me in the quiet moments writing on my blog, and tell me how “selfish” I am, “always on the computer!” Ever wondered why my drafts are so first draft, unedited, on the fly, hurried? yeah they find me. And then I say sweetly, “this is important” which fails miserably every time.
Seattle is a lonely place for us grown ups. I will tell you flat out, at the age where kids are able to talk back and call you “retard,” as mine do, the reality sours when it hits you I had a career that I left. They are it now…. they “are” my hobbies, my preoccupation, and for the Seattle culture that surround me, the uber competitive peers, they are apparently my ticket to wealth and great fame? Why else would they be testing in to fancy schools going from swim team, to lacrosse to Elite soccer in a week’s time? Despite all those pictures of Facebook friends cheersing to their happy gathering of middle aged parents, all cocktails and smiles and kid-less for an hour….. our kids and spouses are the greatest most pure source of entertainment we have, because-quite frankly-not only do they really, deeply, intimately KNOW us, they are available.
Remember parents at home this summer- it is perfectly okay to ask your spouse to plan a day off next week and take some time to drive outside of your 15 mile stomping ground and get crazy. Explore China town in the next large City take a drive by yourself and see if you enjoy classical music or loud old school rap songs when you’re alone. Call a friend and tell them you have a special all day procedure and that the pain meds won’t wear off for days and leave them for 24 hours so you can sit and watch chick flicks in your bra or boxers if you so crave it…..even order a pizza-just like you did when you were twenty. Grab a bottle of Synergy, instead of that Merlot, and crank up the Billie Holiday or Nina Simone….or if you are inclined drink three glasses and forget about this article entirely, just see if you indeed can act your age, and stop at the third glass, like those well behaved peers of yours, fourth glass…yeah-the bottles end, yeah, I drink tea now.
What I’m suggesting is for God’s sake, just cause your bestest friends have relocated to China and Texas, again…. don’t stop living life. Make a new friend, the kind you can sit with for hours with no words spoken, even if that person is you. Enjoy life, after all it’s just a big summer camp, with early rises, and a serious need to reinvent what moves you-like teaching your kids the value of simply enjoying each day-exactly where you are and who you are with.