The boys and I, we’re scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel. Or, to change the metaphor, we’re in the warm flat sea of the last week of summer vacation, sort of like Lucy, Edmund, Eustace, and Reepicheep in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader — when they’ve reached the end of the ocean and they float through a sea of lilies until they come to a wall of water and Reepicheep paddles up it into Aslan’s Country. We’re there, except without the hope of heaven.
Summer 2013 is coming to an end. Camps have been attended, sparklers lit, barbecued meat products consumed. Grandparents have been visited, Seattle has been toured, the U.S.S. Hornet has been explored and the Sierras backpacked. Soccer tournaments have come and gone, as have the Texas cousins. Great America has been conquered. There has been swimming and sweaty games of capture the flag. Hilarity has ensued.
But now we are in the doldrums, waiting for death. I mean, school.
And there is no more “keeping it together,” people. There are no more standards in this no-man’s land. Forget reading the classics, talking meaningfully to each other, practicing guitar, learning a foreign language, or finishing the math workbooks. Forget healthy snacks and reasonable amounts of exercise. Now we stay in our pajamas until well after noon, the blinds drawn against the outside world. The boys rattle around the house and I agree to everything. Can we play Minecraft until our eyes glaze over? Sure! Can we have ice cream for breakfast? Abso-fucking-lutely. Can we watch stupid YouTube videos for hours on end? You bet! Can we play soccer inside, slamming the dirty ball against the (relatively) freshly painted walls? As you wish, darlings. Can we have another donut/more candy/milkshakes/seven packs of gum? Yes! Yes! Yes!
The thing is, even though we’re all bored (the boys won’t admit it) and I’ve dropped any pretense of engaged parenting, these may be some of the days I’ll remember most — the three of us cocooned in a late-summer capsule, incubating until the start of another school year. But like it or not, there’s no denying it: the barrel’s empty, and It’s time for a refill.