Summer is now officially half over–according to my kiddos. Only six weeks left to do my best to cram as many fun-filled activities as I can on a budget that daily curses those who believe $8.45 an hour is overpay. The youngest, eight going on twenty-three, has explained to me in no uncertain terms that I am slacking. Apparently, I am not quite cool enough to grasp this eight year old’s take on the summers of the 21st century as opposed to my summers of the oh-so-long-ago 20th century.
I won’t lie, I was a bit taken back. Me, no longer cool? Unthinkable, unfathomable, quite unheard of. But alas, I have to admit that when I look at the other cooler, hipper, better paid parents I do seem quite drab. I am not in a place to head out each weekend to a new amusement park. I don’t have the resources to join the local pool for a $600+ share to allow me a summer of sitting with parents who are with it. And to top it all off, anything that is in my price range seems to fall under the no-way-in-hell-am-I-doing-that-old-people-crap category. As much as I would like to, I just am not a wealthy woman when we are speaking monetarily and quite honestly, it’s a bit disheartening. As a parent you wish you could whip your children off on every commercialized fantasy they see on television, but that simply is not my reality. The weight of this reality evoked a defeated sigh.
I became entrenched within an instant vision of me in a muumuu, red with enormous violet flowers. It, of course, had the two very deep and might I add convenient pockets to cart my glasses, false teeth, kleenex, and ill-gotten Sweet N’ Low packets. My hair was thinning and a drab grey because of course I am to old to worry about my hair nor can I afford the box of Clairol to hide the grey. Not that it would matter, I wouldn’t be able to read the directions because I will have forgotten where my glasses are. I’d find them an hour later though–I’m hoping.
This elaborate nightmare continued and I was -jeez- I don’t even want to write it but I was….fat. Not just little old lady in a green polyester suit fat, no; this was morbidly obese. I am assuming from the many mornings spent at McDonald’s getting breakfast and my free senior citizen’s coffee on the side. Other seniors speak to me but I continuously forget mid sentence what my point was and just wave a hand as I suck on my gums since I have forgotten to Poligrip those dentures in on this particular morning. Eventually I regain my train of thought and interrupt everyone in the vicinity to ramble on about the kids these days and how it was when I was knee high to a cricket.
It was about this time my daughter noticed my glazed eyes and open mouth and began poking me repeatedly. I snapped out of my horrific reverie and plastered a smile across my lips for her benefit. I didn’t bother to explain what I had been thinking despite her nagging. I just grabbed her small hand and wandered over to the dining room table and sat her down while we looked through some local family publications and the web for a Friday night outing that was by her terms–cool. We finally found one that was acceptable and affordable which pleased me to no ends because I was once again the owner of the cool factor.
Unfortunately though, this same scenario will be repeated again many times before school starts back up on August 26. And each time I will feel inferior and somewhat of a failure. I am sure my outlandish visions will be replayed only the next time will have never before seen, extended, director’s cut scenes included. I will do my best to once more soothe the savage beast that is a summer child without comparing myself to other parents. However, I am a comparer so of I will most certainly compare myself to her friend’s parents in my mind and dread the first week back to school when every child is chock full of exuberance and stories about their summer. And once again my defeated sigh will get lost upon the stomping footfall of a child who has yet to learn the evils of money, parenting, and the world at large,
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Photo Credit: No Place by Chris-tel