As we settle into the armpit of summer, where it is hot and sweaty and very dark, I am finding it difficult to muster the energy to even pen these words to you.
Perhaps it is merely the fact that I must fugitively plunk away at these laptop keys from my hiding spot here, in my bedroom, clad in a Groucho Marx disguise and listening, crazy-eyed for any rustling outside the door.
There are penalties for attempting to avoid the wrath of one’s own children in this house and my captors are happy to mete out the punishment, eagerly and liberally.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Punishment revolves around one or all of the following:
Time sentenced to picking up dozens of errant plastic popsicle sleeves from the driveway
Being forced to load up totebags and coolers and lug it all to the pool only to be told minutes after arrival that “there are too many other kids and the pool is actually lame”
Take them all to get self serve frozen yogurt that will cost me $60 and watch them eat it, while my teenager stares at me like this:
My own bedroom should, in theory, be a safe place. But nowhere is safe when you live with velociraptors. And for the last three weeks my life has begun to resemble something out of Jurassic World, except I am the scientist who biologically created the small beings—beings that would eventually grow to threaten my own humanity.
Alas, I have no time for luxuries like motion pictures or commas or bathing since my life has drifted into the territory that spans somewhere between “New Lows” and “I stopped giving a fuck this morning, can’t you tell by the ice cream stains on my t-shirt?”.
It’s only been three weeks since the kids would arise each morning, like dutiful little soldiers and set off on their daily journey to be someone else’s problem for 7 hours. But now that school is out, everything has changed.
Not entirely unrelated: I think I might be depressed.
Not like clinically, in need of medical intervention depressed. More like, What, you’ve never seen a woman wearing yesterday’s pants hiding in her minivan eating milk duds in her own driveway before?
Since we are friends, and that makes us similar (poor you), I’m at least comforted to know you are probably just as miserable as I am. And misery always loves company. Slide in the passenger seat, there’s plenty of milk duds to go around. (At least until the kids find them).
To cheer myself up, I’ve decided to formulate a list of things that are making me happy amidst the depressive state induced by my children being home ALL THE TIME. I suggest formulating a list of your own, to see if it also cheers you. Or perhaps my list will be enough to cheer us both.
Things That I Can Be HAPPY About This Summer
- My Moth Traps: For each of the three summers we have spent in this house, like clock work, the pantry moths arrive just as school closes it’s doors. They seem to know just when I am at my lowest in life and arrive with their little moth suitcases packed, ready for a summer stay in my cupboards. Let’s kick the old girl while she’s down—Hurry, Chester, fly on up here, I’ve made a home for us in her slightly unsealed box of brown sugar. I don’t know where these little MOTHerfuckers hail from but I sure as hell know that if it is June, they will be setting up camp near my boxes of Hamburger Helper (nothing but the best for these kids). Of course, I spend all winter attempting to thwart their arrival, mind you. I throw out my flour, my sugar, my salt. I wipe down every inch of the pantry. But somehow they return. They always return. And so, my most dismal days in the month of June are spent formulating a plan to KILL ALL THE MOTHS. While my children break my things and eat every morsel of food in the house, I do online research for the best methods for mothly demise. I can’t fully articulate why this gives me joy–perhaps the idea that I have control over some small part of my domain while my kids make it rain popsickles all around me, gives me a sense of hope. I don’t know. But as I formulate my plan and draw up elaborate moth death plans, every click of the mouse on Amazon.com brings me one step closer to destroying their home, just like my children are destroying mine. So I am happy as I order my supplies and then I wait with bated breath for my traps to arrive.
- The Mail Man: The mail-man makes me happy because he brings me my traps. Also because he comes to my house every day, rain or shine, and never asks anything of me in return. He never requires snacks or begs me to take him to the movies. He just brings me things (like moth traps) and leaves.
- Day Camp: This one should be fairly self explanatory. Day camp means the children go somewhere other than up in my grill for 3-4 hours a day. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Except when it doesn’t.
- R & B Music from the Late 1990’s: When things get really dicey in the house and I feel like I’m about to lose my shit, I call a Family Meeting. Family Meetings are the only time when I voluntarily gather the entire brood into one room and place myself among them. I usually start the Family Meeting with introductions (which I apparently am the only one who still finds funny) and then attempt to go over the events for the ensuing day. This seems fairly innocuous and so the children, who are usually pretty adept at sensing when I’m about to go RoboDork, are lulled into a false sense of security.
That’s when I drop some sweet tracks.
I usually start with a little New Kids, because…JOEY! And then I ease them into a little Ace of Base. And of course, we dance. My husband will do the lawnmower and I’m pretty rad at the Roger Rabbit, if I do say so myself. Or is it The Running Man? I always get those two confused. My redeeming grace is that I know all the words to The Humpty Dance and I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve been told my some of the neighborhood kids that I pretty much kill it.
Unfortunately, I can tell you from recent experience, the lyrics to Humpty Dance are a LITTLE offensive to today’s Politically Correct youth. But screw their parents if they won’t let them come over to my house anymore because of a SONG.
doubt hope I’ve cheered you with this list. While I’m not entirely sure that you will find the same joy in the things that are making me happy this summer, just knowing I find happiness somewhere is perhaps just the push you need to find your own HAPPY.
Until you do find your own list of happiness, feel free to borrow some of the things on mine.
Except the moth traps.
I need those.
You’ll have to get your own.