Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Every year for the past several years, my kids have gone to my parents' house for a week in the summer. They go to attend Vacation Bible School. It's not that they can't attend here, they could, but it gives them a chance to see their grandparents, fish, swim, eat ice cream, have special breakfasts with Papa and just generally be spoiled. Ask them, they'll tell you it's way better than anything I ever thought of doing with them in their whole entire lives. Even if I did all those things with them and more, it wouldn't be nearly as good, because their grandparents are much cooler than I could ever be.

The rule (instituted by my parents) is that you must be 5 years old by the date of VBS in order to spend the week. Since Mary's birthday falls in July, she doesn't make the cutoff. When I mentioned to my mom that Patrick and I were looking forward to next year when all of the kids will be spending the week away, she said she might be rethinking that rule. (CHEATER!) Since Mary can't go, I usually sign her up for a camp at her preschool so that she's not bored and trying to climb in my skin (have I mentioned that her nickname is "Tick"?) and possibly so that I might have a few hours to read trashy novels and eat bonbons get some work done around here. Her camp is from 9-1 for three days. I get 12 hours alone. 12 whole hours.

I have big plans for my 12 hours of freedom. They involve paint, spray paint, and a few other things. I need to finish the desk that I'm refurbishing for Maggie's room. I'd like to paint my laundry room so that it is some other color than Builder's White--you know, the color that is a dull, chalky white and flakes off and makes a mark every time it is touched or bumped. There are some things I've picked up at Goodwill and garage sales that need to meet my lovah, my sweet, sweet spray paint. I need to make a few of the favors I've planned for Mary's birthday party. I need to plan Sean's birthday party. I need to buy presents for them. I need to plan for my entire family's visit to our home over the Fourth of July weekend. I need to make a low fence for my sugar snap peas to climb. I need to get a couple more chairs to go out under the willow and paint them. I need to find something to give my impossible-to-buy-for husband for our upcoming anniversary. And those are the things at the top of the list.

Whattaya think? Will I ever come close in my 12 tiny little hours of unencumbered time? I don't think so either, but if I get at least the first two done, then I'll feel like I've accomplished a lot.

Meanwhile, Mary will see some friends, learn some things, and have fun. Maggie will enjoy her first year of being a "big kid"--too old to participate in VBS--and volunteering at the preschool VBS at my folks' church. James and Sean will enjoy VBS as well, even though they protest right now that they hate it. I know better. I will hear all about the fun things they did and the crazy stunts they saw and hopefully, they'll learn a little more about Jesus, too. Maggie, James, and Sean will eat ice cream, swim in a couple different pools, visit their other grandma and their aunts, eat Angelo's pizza, go to the park, have breakfast with the old men who are Papa's friends, catch and eat fish, and maybe even see a movie. They will come home tired and happy and glad to see me. I will be overjoyed to see them and it will seem like they've all grown 6 inches in a week. They will be happy to see "Tick" even if she is "annoying". She will be delighted to see them. That will all last about 2 minutes, and then the eye-rolling and bickering will start. But that will be fine, because that is my normal and I will have lived for a week without anything close to my normal. I will have been in withdrawal and ready for re-entry into the craziness that is life as a mother of four.

It will be a summer's worth of living in all crammed into a week. So even if nothing else gets accomplished this summer, if no other plans get crossed off the list, I think it'll be all right.

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