Every year, I am forced to take a “vacation” during the third week of August. Daycare is closed for the youngest that week and all summer programs for the older boys have finished. It’s an odd paradigm for working parents, this forced vacation, but a common one. I seldom plan a real, live “go away” vacation. Going anywhere with three kids aged 8 and under is neither appealing to me, nor feasible for many reasons–but that’s for another post. So, the third week of August is devoted to me and the kids and our week-long local adventures and distractions undertaken from basecamp (read: home). Here are some outtakes from the week taken from my field journal (read: scraps of paper and previous facebook posts).
Pyramid of cuteness and destruction.
Field report: Monday.
First day of “staycation” with all the boys. West Deer, PA. Carmen found a fossil in the front yard, Paul broke my antique framed print of a girl and her dog that I’ve had since I was little, I made homemade stuffed crust pizza, and Anthony got caught in a mouse trap (the glue kind). Overall, a moderate success.
Homemade Pizza: Boom.
Field report: Tuesday.
Second day of “staycation” with all the boys. West Deer, PA. Tired. Carmen caught a huge, angry snapping turtle (I commandeered the line, totally froze and had no idea what to do, and promptly (and kind of thankfully) lost it), Paul didn’t break anything, I lost one of the last four fly fishing flies that I had of my father’s, and when I asked Anthony what time it was on his Spiderman watch, he said “27.” When asked again, “banana.” Overall, a moderate success.
Seriously scary snapping turtle.
Field report: Wednesday.
Third day of “staycation” with all the boys. West Deer, PA. Disgruntled; losing good humor and motivation. Almost had fisticuffs with the crazy lady in the vet waiting room who repeatedly called Gunner fat. Stopped at Sheetz on the way home and the kids insisted on “accidentally” mispronouncing it “Shitz” the remainder of the day. Welcomed home the in-laws from their 3 week trip to Greece and hometown in Italy; got lots of swag. Not dead. Overall, a moderate success.
Field report: Thursday.
Four “Funday” passes to Kennywood: $80
Playing games until the boys each won a prize: $20
Potato Patch Fries and drinks: $25
The look on your kids faces when they’re feeding their soft pretzel to ducks in the Kennywood pond: a total goddamn waste of $3.75
Trying to hurt/maim Cowboy Joe
Field report: Friday.
Details are sparse. Only things in field journal: “Thinking about going to the rodeo tonight and sitting on aluminum bleachers with chance of thunderstorms. #badideajeans?” and “Lost: Very small frog. Reward: Anthony.”
Frog that was lost sometime Friday.
Field report: Saturday.
Sums Saturday afternoon up pretty nicely.
Kim Kardashian is having her $25M nups today. Here’s *my* day in a nutshell: 1. I’m drinking Miller Light for lunch, 2. my youngest just threw a hoe at me (not a prostitute), 3. a spider was building a web *in the bill of the hat I was wearing,* 4. I just took 2 Imodiums, 5. my kitchen floor looks like a scene from M*A*S*H (seriously, who needed 14 band-aids, I didn’t even see any blood or hear screaming).
And if you ask me if I’d like to trade places with Kim for the day: absofuckinglutely.
Medical waste? We’ll never really know.
Oh, and we went to the North Washington Rodeo. We bought tickets for $1 for chances to win a live steer, a live pig, a live colt, and a live miniature pony. “Sadly,” we did not win.
Parades and rodeos…forget it. I get all USA and misty eyed.
There is a town called Hooker, PA that you drive through to get to the rodeo. Never gets old for me.
Field report: Sunday.
We drove by a cemetery today and there were about 100 crows covering a section close to the road. It was a poignant sight to me, and it cut a beautiful shape against the morning sky. Not macabe, just symbolic and there for the looking.
My one twin spoke up after taking in the sight, “You mean to tell me…all these birds, they’re allllll visiting dead people?”: head in the stars.
My other twin to his brother, “They are just. Eating. Worms. Duh.”: anvil of truth.
Well I think they’re both right…it’s just in how you want to look at things, what you *want* to believe. I was a stay-at-home mom for three years. It was wonderful, and lonely, and fun, and freeing, and maddening, and a little sad. After careful thought, I made a choice to go back to a wage-earning job. My recent staycation was the first week since then that I missed staying home. Parenting is hard, and you seldom know if you are doing the right thing. Don’t worry, if you are doing your best, your kids will love you either way.
Anthony totally tangled in fishing line; confused; filthy.
Your time with your children (in any capacity) will provide a lifetime of wonderful memories for them to cherish. They will remember so many mundane details and thank you someday : head in the stars.
As long as you love them, feed them, house them, clothe them, and provide—your kids will probably (for real) not remember much of the details that you pine over, but—you will have succeeded in getting them into adulthood as functional members of society: anvil of truth.
Just try to enjoy the ride. Most importantly, relax. Seriously. Take it easy on yourself. Everything will be OK. As long as all the frogs are accounted for at the end of the day, you will have succeeded.
Back to school. Paul is probably hiding the lost frog behind his back there…