Today marked the first full day of Summer Vacation. The boys celebrated by sleeping in, letting me sleep in, and then turning into Grade A Jerks before noon.
I want Summer Break to feel like a big ball of fun for everyone, but things still need to happen. Things need to be cleaned. Summer Reading needs to not be ignored until three days before it needs turned in to the Administration Office. The arguing over video games, computers, footballs, Pokemon cards, anything, everything needs to be kept to a minimal. And, most importantly, all of this needs to happen with a modicum of respect for the one running this gig, being me. Especially as my husband seems to be working some overtime at the fire department, leaving me in charge of the runnings of all things household more than usual.
I made the Executive Decision, because I can do that, to give the boys tech-time in the morning, and then run a no-tech-time stretch from lunch through 3:30 in the afternoon. Chores needed completed. Books needed started. I needed to not hear children yelling to their friends through headsets about Star Wars or football or Minecraft or w h a t e v e r.
Then I hear mumbling in the kitchen.
You guys, we’re like hours into this Summer Vacation, and I’m stressed to the max with a number of Adult Things. So, I’m not all aboard the Complain Train.
My oldest son appears in the door of my office, face sullen like any good-standing Tweenager.
“What?” Or more like, “What.” A statement. Not a question. Laced with Tweenager Angst. Like this child doesn’t know I was Tweenager in the early 90’s. My Angst far outranks his Angst. Forever and ever. Amen. Let’s go to a Rave.
“What are you complaining about?”
“I asked you a question.”
“I was about to answer you.”
I know you hear what I heard in that italicized “about.” My blood pressure shot through the roof, but I waited.
“I don’t think it’s fair that we can’t have technology until 3:30.”
Something happened in my brain right about the word fair, as it, also, was laced with Angst and Judgment and an unspoken I really kind of hate you. It wasn’t quite a snap, but it sure was close to a pop.
I went straight up Breakfast Club on the kid.
“Oh. You don’t think it’s fair, do you? Well, you just lost technology for the rest of the day. How’s THAT for fair?”
I just left off the “try me.”
I recognized as the words fell out of my mouth that I had gone full Breakfast Club, but they were already cascading down my tongue and into the air between us. I could not stop them.
I followed them up with this gem, becoming not only a cliche Breakfast Club scene, but my parents.
“Get that look off your face.”
Man, I hated hearing that. What look was even on my face? It’s just my face. And like me, our oldest son does not possess a Poker Face. Everything he thinks or feels or processes shows up RIGHT THERE on his face.
Parent of the Year, right here.
We talked later, after he read some of this first book for Summer Reading. He apologized. I apologized. I couldn’t even make him laugh with the Breakfast Club reference, because it’s 2017 and he’s 11 and I’m old. My husband, working a metric ton of overtime lately, found it humorous.
I’m just hoping tomorrow is a better day for all of us.