Today on my lunch break I ran to one of my favorite stores on the planet- Barnes & Noble.
I had to pick up a birthday gift . . . I knew what I wanted and was to the counter in less than a minute.
In front of me was a mom with a big stack of books in her arms, with three kids whose names all started with H.
Hannah, Hunter, and Hayden (girl). The employee was taking for-ev-er to help check people out. Hello, backup? The kids were whining about whose book cost more, how long it was taking, when could they eat, can I puh-LEASE get this bookmark? and so on. "As soon as we're done here we're going to buy Hayden new Crocs, OK guys? We've got a lot to do today. Hunter, go find your sister! Say excuse me. HUNTER! Stay here. Stand still."
Behind me, two very calm little dark-haired boys stood patiently with their Dad, dressed in Texas Longhorn gear. I saw a "summer reading checklist" in his hands. He bent down to be at the boys' level. "Thank you guys for being such good boys. After this, we're going home to have lunch, then we'll head to the splash pad, OK?"
Both scenes made me insanely jealous. Today was a Monday those sets of kids got to stay home with their parents and do fun things like buy Crocs and cross books of the summer reading list and go to the water park. I just told the Dad a few days ago I wish I was a teacher, so I could have my summers off to spend with the lil' dude.
When my brother and I were young, my mom stayed home with us. I remember colossal trips to the library (once a bookworm, always a bookworm), making homemade popsicles with Kool-Aid and Jello, and watching reruns in the cool basement. I loved basketball summer camp, weekends spent camping, afternoons at the lake. We used to pick strawberries at the local berry farm and ride bike to the camp canteen down the road. We did something everyday, even if it was finding tree frogs or using sidewalk chalk (wow, my dad hated sidewalk chalk) or hanging the clothes out to dry. We harbored turtles in our plastic swimming pool, hit rocks with old tennis rackets, and begged for TV dinners. 12 weeks of summer . . .
The lil' dude is turning into the most fun creature ever. It's loads of fun to introduce her to new things. Yesterday she swam in a pool for the first time! She went under three times! She shared Mama's purple Freezie! The weekends just go too quickly. I want to stay home this summer with my baby. I want to experience a break from the professional word and endless drama and change and expectation. I want everything to be simpler. Reading on the deck in the shade, slow walks with the dog to the park. Eating snow peas right out of the pod in the garden. I want more; I want less.
A mama-friend of mine recently traded in her 10-hour days and endless "after hours" work to switch gears to working half that time in a different position. Her reason? Her family. Her little boy is 2. He asks when Mommy come home? She said she'd like to give her H a break from grocery shopping and laundry and food preparing. I am so proud of her for making such a difficult decision and envious of her choice. Now, her little boy can say, "Mommy go to the park!"
It's already the 4th of July week. Summer isn't gonna last forever. But my envy is.