It’s the final week of August and the end of a long summer in our house. I enjoy summer for many reasons, also because the days are a nice change of pace from the hectic schedule of the school year. But this summer was different, and I find myself looking forward to a new season, even if it means another busy school year. However, before I can get started on the new school year, I have to get through August, and August is the month I hate most in summer. August is the month when I scramble to find camps for the kids to fill in my big gap in day care; August is the month when summer temperatures heat up and relegate my already restless kids indoors; and August is the month when my temper and my kids’ tempers are as short as the days are long. Here’s a few other reasons why August is not my favorite month:
1) School Supply Shopping.
Beginning in August the kids start bugging to go shopping for school supplies. I try to put off this chore as long as possible, but not so long that the stores run out of supplies. Usually in August, the kids’ schools send a list of school supplies they will need. It is usually very specific with things like, “College Ruled Spiral Notebook with Three Subjects and Pocket Dividers,” or 3 packages of 150 quantity 4×6 White Notecards, Unlined. Can you tell why I hate shopping for these supplies? Sometimes I feel like I am on a scavenger hunt, and when I am done running between at least 2 stores, hunting for everything on their list in triplicate, I have the pleasure of spending somewhere in the neighborhood of $250.00!
2) Summer Homework Torture
Nico, Erica and Olivia all go to schools which assign summer reading and math packets. The reading assignment also includes an essay which must be turned in the first few days of school. For Olivia, she gets tested on her summer reading. I know the kids should read throughout the summer anyway, but something about this assigned reading makes what I consider a pleasure, a pure hardship for them, and me. In August I become a complete nag about their unfinished reading, essay writing, and math homework. Sometime after the dismissal bell in June and the beginning of August, my kids’ brains turn to mush and they cannot write a complete paragraph without constantly interrupting their work with bathroom breaks, trips to the refrigerator, or watching “5 minutes” of television. It is pure torture, watching them “write” the essays. It’s usually not until the final day before school that I can light a fire under their *&!$ and they can get their summer homework done.
3) The Birthday Season
In August I begin preparing for the birthday season. Beginning on August 1, we celebrate my mother-in-law’s birthday. This is the kick-off event for the month of birthday celebrations which culminates in my father-in-law’s September birthday. In the coming weeks I will have to plan no less than three of my kids’ birthday parties. I like to get the party planning done before school starts so I don’t have that to contend with sending out invitations as I cover text books, shop for last-minute school supplies and fill out a seemingly unending stream of enrollment forms, medical clearances and notices of emergency contact information.
4) Summer Let Down
After I am done buying school supplies, nagging my kids about summer homework, and planning birthday parties, I can stop and reflect on the past couple of months. This is when I realize that summer has whizzed by and I feel like I haven’t really enjoyed it. Truth be told, even if I could spend my days enjoying all that summer offers, I would probably still be let down when August ends, because as an adult, summer just isn’t summer like I remember it. Summers used to be carefree, and fun, with nothing to do spend my days waking late, swimming in my parents’ pool, reading books that I chose, watching All My Children, and hanging out with my friends. Sigh. How can I help but feel let down when August comes and, if I am lucky, I made it to the beach a few times, and maybe had a few barbecues. The other day Diego reminded me of all that I am missing from the fun of summer. Juan and I were headed out the door for work, and I suggested to our nanny that she take the kids to the local city pool or maybe a matinée to beat the heat. Diego asked, “Do you have to work everyday? Can’t you have summer vacation too?” August reminds me that I haven’t stopped enough in the business of the season to enjoy the fun of summer.
So, now that I am wrapping up my summer, and the kids will all be back in school this week, I have planned one last hurrah. This Labor Day Weekend I’ll be hosting a barbecue, and I’ll be combining it with another birthday party.