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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Seventeen seconds of peace

 Like most families, we counted down the days until school was finally over.  We celebrated with snow cones and stayed up late on what used to be a school night.  As a mom, I reflected on how nice it would be to have the freedom of a sunny day, with no strict schedules to stick to and just the time to play and be kids before it’s too late.
But then the reality of never being alone set in.  In fact I have sat down to write this column about forty three times, each time interrupted by one of my lovely children who I was so excited about spending the summer with.
“Mom, our fish died.”
“Mom, can I make a craft?”
“Mom, where are the pruning shears?”
“Mom, I’m hungry.”
“Mom, why are you on your computer again?”
“Mom, why are you so grouchy?”
“Mom, I’m still hungry.”
It’s like they have secret meetings late at night after I’ve collapsed from exhaustion of answering their questions all day, finding things hidden in plain sight, and revisiting my career as a short-order cook.   I’m nearly positive they have detailed timing rehearsals so that their interruptions are nearly seamless, and that I am allowed exactly seventeen seconds before the next apparent crisis arises.  Not only that, but they must also sit around and brainstorm insane demands and predicaments, and write them all down on tiny lists that they keep in the pockets of their summer shorts, ready to be pulled out and referred to if no one has interrupted me for a good, solid ten seconds.  And their lists are written in such tiny fonts that my old eyes can’t decipher what is on them when I pull them out while doing the laundry.
“What’s this chicken scratch?  Arm wrestling my sister?  Ask to cut my own hair?  I must be reading it wrong.  And I’m out of laundry soap.  Guess I’ll have to….”
“Mom, how long should I microwave a marshmallow if I want it to explode, but not too much?”  (This question was actually asked to me today, after which I threw my hands up in the air and said, “fifteen seconds,” which would also be the approximate amount of time until the next person asked me something equally as bizarre.)
Completely outnumbered by these wonderful creatures, what’s a mother to do other than to give in and attempt to enjoy every precious second and be thankful that they we can all be together so that they can annoy me with their countless amounts of curiosity and love.  When it comes down to it, there is no one else I’d rather have them asking their questions to, even if it means I’ll never wash a dish or go to the bathroom in peace again, until August.  Unless it takes less than seventeen seconds.

 Originally written 6/1/14


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