The other night, around 8:00, I was oh-so-actively-and-athletically lying on my couch with my laptop on my stomach and my cat lying across my neck (yes, she believes that’s her official perch; this apparently implies that I lie on my couch way too much but I’m going to ignore that for now), and I realized that it was looking pretty gloomy outside. Ooh, a thunderstorm, I thought hopefully, because my son and mom and I just got back from two weeks visiting family in Southern California, and although we love and miss our family, we are so over relentless sun and “cool” evenings of 80 degrees.
Then I looked again. Nope. No thunderstorm. What, then? The apocalypse? No again. Well, maybe it is for my 10-year-old: It was merely getting dark. The sun had set. And it was only 8:00. We all know what that means! Summer’s over, bee-yotches! Time to go back to school! Woo hoo!
*Koff* Sorry, kid. Didn’t mean to do a happy dance at your somber farewell-to-summer wake.
I love my son. Really, I do. More than anything. And I fully appreciate that he is one of those kids who is able to amuse himself most of the time, usually with all of his electronics (computer games, YouTube videos of gamers playing said computer games, TV, my iPad—hey! my iPad!—and the XBox) and never rolls around on the floor like an upended turtle, moaning “I’m booooreeed.” Summer passes quickly with this type of kid.
And he’s never a pain in the butt, so I’m not one of those moms who gleefully marks off every day of summer on the calendar, staring longingly at the square marked “Labor Day,” dreaming of the misty morning I will drop-kick my spawn into the Big Building o’ Learning down the street.
However, I do have one issue with summer: I cannot write. No, really. It’s a physical impossibility. Because while my darling offspring does amuse himself with his gear, that doesn’t mean he does it quietly. He’s a talker (I wonder where he gets that from). Given half a chance, he will talk all day…and all night (yep, he also talks in his sleep). What about? Anything and everything. He rambles about what he watched on TV three weeks ago. “Hey, remember…?” No, son. No, I do not. I cannot even remember what I just watched on Netflix an hour ago. He gives a running commentary about the video game he’s playing. He talks back to the gamers on the YouTube videos. He’s a smart kid—he knows they can’t hear him, but he does it all the same.
Usually I can deal with that. My son is one of the most interesting people I know, and I’m usually happy to talk with him about whatever crosses his mind. Heck, he likes to talk politics! And he’s more perceptive about that stuff than most of the adults I know! So yeah, that’s not a problem. Most of the time. But now…now I have (cue ominous music) a deadline for my fifth novel.
I must write, and quickly. And a lot. For very long stretches of time. For larger amounts of time than it takes for his dad to take him for ice cream sundaes, or for him to accompany his generous best friend’s family to a baseball game.
I used to write for hours after he fell asleep, but that’s not working so well for me anymore—now I’m more inclined to stare at the screen for a few minutes, my eyes crossing, then mutter “ah, screw it,” turn out the light, and roll over, straight into oblivion.
So what’s an author/mom to do? Why, look forward to school starting, of course! Sixth grade orientation? Let’s go! Shopping for school supplies? Fetch me my debit card! A visit to the school during the last week of summer vacation to fill the locker with said school supplies and practice working the lock a dozen or more times? Great idea! How about we go more than once?
This is no reflection on my offspring. I swear. I will miss him terribly when he’s back in school and the house is silent and the electric bill is cut in half due to a marked drop in usage (except for the uptick from increased employment of the coffeemaker).
The house silent? Oh yeah. I’m getting all tingly just thinking about it. Solitude (except for the cat looking for my neck to perch on) for seven straight hours, for five days at a stretch. I could produce Pultizer-worthy fiction with that amount of free time! Yippee!
Then again, I have a sneaking suspicion that the minute the boy snurfles blearily with his first illness of the school year (always two weeks from the first day of school—the usual incubation period for whatever plague his friends have conferred upon him), I won’t really mind the interruption in my routine to have my kid home again, even if just for a day or two.