Wednesday, June 27, 2007
my summer job as a mom
A week and a half into summer break and my children and I are cloistered in the room with the tiny air conditioner, pumping its heart out. The summer so far has featured long stretches of icy days reminiscent of spring, interspersed with wicked hot days like this one, high near 96. A week ago we were struggling to find long john pajamas and jackets.
Madeleine and Brendan heard about a neighborhood yard sale, and rather than part with any precious item from their belongings, they are drawing elaborate sheets of paper dolls to sell. It’s a brilliant idea that keeps them very, very busy and will likely net them only a few pennies. I try to insert a practical word now and then, such as “most people look at a yard sale as a reason to sort through their stuff and get rid of the extras.” I warned them of the same, last fall when they gathered and sold seeds around the neighborhood, and they netted twelve dollars plus some really interesting seeds. People want to pay these hard-working children, and who am I to argue against their entrepreneurial instincts?
Last week, we inaugurated summer vacation with a five-day whirlwind trip to Pennsylvania, where we met Scott’s dad for a few slow days of scooters, roller blades and porch swings. I walked into a dusty coffee shop and entered my childhood, but that’s another story for another day. Then Scott drove south with his father on an errand to Florida, while kids and I slowly meandered through the green hills in our small Jetta, stopping for a spinning wheel museum, for hours of baseball and dog walks with friends Steve and Aidan. Friday morning baseball followed until we could stay no more, yearning to move toward home. One trip to Madeleine’s favorite organic farm yielded cheeses and breads from heaven, and a final visit to dear friends who’ve moved across the state. Although technically we were home on Friday night, I worked late into the night with my “day job” online, so we slept through half of Saturday. When we visited with my out-of-town friend Byron over lunch at a neighboring college, it still seemed like we were on vacation.
And it still does! A small heddle loom arrived in the mail and we strung it up with a rainbow warp—one winter scarf was completed entirely by my children and I’ve started weaving the second scarf as their energy turned to paper dolls. They are so happy to be home, to be free of schedules and hurry. For now it’s blissful parenting. Children engineered smoothies for lunch, made of cantaloupe and peaches. St. Peter’s Fiesta will find us sailing down three story slides and riding the giant ferris wheel by the end of the week.
In another week and a half I’ll be teaching at the kids’ arts camp, then preparing for my first writing residency in Sante Fe. Until then I’m reading my homework (homework! It’s been a long time), working on repairs and sorting, and drinking an ice cold smoothie in front of the air conditioner.