This has been an incredible summer so far. The kids, who are currently running around my kitchen like banshees, have been wonderful. I'm thankful I can throw them outside and do so often! Let them bother the neighbors.
Every summer for as long as I can remember (really for as long as my mom can remember, too) our family joins all of our cousins at the lake. When I was a girl, we left the day school got out and came home the day before school started. We filled our time swimming, sailing, water-skiing, searching for bears, playing Ghost in the graveyard, trying to catch chipmunks, and on and on. The dads always stayed in town, commuting up for the weekends, and the kids were just thrown together with whatever mom was around. It must be a little bit like what living in a commune-- without the underaged marriage and stuff. I listened to, and respected, my mom and my aunt Mamie equally. I never realized the work it took...
When I had my first baby (the first of this new generation), I eagerly anticipated sharing the lake with him- and subsequent children. I imagined a blissful summer where I got brown sitting on the beach reading while watching my kids frolic in the waves with their cousins. Our little Stepford babies would sleep well, play well and listen well. They would share without being asked. They would read for the joy of reading. They wouldn't need any TV or DS to entertain them. They'd be entertained by the organic, idyllic summers of my youth.
Except, you only remember the good stuff...
My mom never got to read on the beach until she got brown. I didn't remember that until this summer.
We arrived July 4th with three kids, a dog and enough crap to keep them entertained for a month. My sister and her family of three boys had already been up for about a week. We all enjoyed a fun-filled holiday weekend and then the dads drove back home for the week.
Most days, we don't get to sit down until about 3. We spend the morning grocery shopping with between three and six kids, or taking six kids to the library, or to the farmers market. We play Star Wars, Harry Potter, Legos, Sorry, Animal upon Animal, Bakugan, Othello, pirates and Operation. We drive the pontoon boat for six kids tubing- two turns each. We break up fights and kiss skinned knees. We make lunch. We clean up from all of the above activities. We put all of the kids into their individual rooms from 1-3 for quiet time. We put them back into their rooms a minimum of three times in this two hour period. We split a beer... rinse, repeat, add dinner and bedtime to the routine
My sister, mother and I have been pretty successfully parenting six kids together this summer. Sometimes it is easier when the dads aren't there- we let a lot go and let the kids work a lot of it out on their own. We have mastered being sister-wives without the icky sharing of a husband. Until next summer when they are older and like different stuff--- then we'll reinvent the wheel yet again!
My family is home for a five day respite, and then we're heading back up on Friday for the final weeks of summer. Maybe we'll get the four-year old up on waterskis- time will tell!