The city is slowly beginning to fill up. The quiet and calm found in a city of this size during the summer is a sweet and beautiful thing. While many choose to flee and stress out to get to the cottage or drive to their summer holiday destination, many of us, including me, stay put.
A glass of cold beer is enjoyed more when we are all just chilling-out during the summer heat.
But now, the kids are returning, the TV commercials are amping up and the inventory levels at places like Staples, Target and Walmart are piled high as we are told that we need to buy our kids new stuff because, well, we just need to. It’s what we are supposed to do…isn’t it?
My kids are laying low right now. One of them is finishing her summer job which will culminate with a banquet later this week. My younger daughter is just chilling at home, reaching out to friends who she hasn’t seen all summer in the hopes of catching up. It’s reasonably calm and peaceful.
My wife and I usually take off the last week of the summer so that we can do things with our kids (including a visit to the dentist and orthodontist). The only major event that takes place during this last week is a trip to Buffalo…mostly done out of tradition. We hit the mall, the discount mall, Cheesecake Factory and the local grocery store because thats what we do each and every year. If possible we are trying to do it affordably with every effort to be mindful about what we buy based on what the kids REALLY need as opposed to WANT.
It is a fun and tiring day, usually winding up with a long line-up at the border and us reaching home in darkness.
We will begin to implement a more reasonable bedtime for each of our children even though we will be fought every step of the way. Sure, they will get into bed at a more civilized hour but they won’t actually fall asleep until late because thats what their bodies have been used to during the summer break.
Its the same thing every year. It doesn’t really matter what age they are…but until they are old enough to legally make decisions for themselves, we tell them the way it is.
This is our “calm before the storm”.
I know what’s coming…I have enough parenting experience to know what to expect. The pre-night jitters about the start of school (even more so with my younger daughter who is starting middle-school this year), the preparation of knapsacks, the doling out of money to schools for student cards, journals and all that crap, the making of first day lunches – complete with fruit, treats and ice packs, laying out their clothing choices the night before (so as to be organized…even though they will make two or three wardrobes changes the morning of), the whining about going back to school, about seeing people they don’t want to see, the fear of school work and being overwhelmed….
I know what’s coming…my wife and I both know what’s coming.
It’s like a tsunami – building over the week before the official start of school – except with tons of reminders and warnings that it’s coming.
I know that their stomachs will be turning over and over as the pre-school jitters attack them the night before, only to ease once “Oh Canada” plays on the school public address system.
I know that my wife and I will be employed to sit with them as they grind through their homework assignments….I know there will be tears of frustration and arguments and lectures and getting pissed at each of them for forgetting to bring home their binder or textbook. I know we will raise our voices at them as they forget to empty their lunch bags or just simply throw their school bags down in the front hallway, kicking off their shoes as they land anywhere but on the shoe mat – looking like a war zone in a movie.
I know all about the orientation nights, the parent-teacher interviews…report cards, letters coming home announcing that a kid in their classroom was sent home with lice.
But I also know that all of this hasn’t happened yet and it’s still sunny and hot outside.
I know that there is a cold can of beer in the fridge and a cold bottle of white wine to share with my wife (if she saves me some!!).
For now, I will savour my beer and the bottle of wine with my wife as I count the number of days left of sitting in my Adirondack chair on my front porch.
Damn I love summer!