Home Commentary Why Can’t It Be Summer Forever?

Why Can’t It Be Summer Forever?

It’s been a hard month since Monday. 

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My crew of three went back to school like everyone else in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. 

Every year, I do the Cabbage Patch dance in the school supply aisles, remembering fondly the Lisa Frank Cheetah Skinned Trapper Keepers of my youth. I want ALL the flair pens and fruit-smelling markers. I reminisce on the Garfield and Smurfs lunchboxes from the ‘80s. I brag to my kids about the tenacity and resilience of Generation X. My children do not care.

And now six days in, I am not tenacious. I am not resilient. I take the Back-to-School celebration back. 

My back hurts and I’m broke.

Like most things, I love the idea of Back-to-School, but the execution of it is another thing. 

I’ve signed 180 papers pledging that we will not quit, won’t sue anybody, and we will fundraise enough money to fund a Super PAC. I swear you could slip in a pledge to donate my house to a platypus and I’d sign it. 

I’ve spent $3,645.87 on groceries, but already there’s nothing to eat.

“The way the pencil sounds on the paper,” gives my third the “weird feelings in the nerves in [his] skin,” and the teacher has already sent two notes home. He’s made new friends but doesn’t know their names, because names in second grade are not a prerequisite for friendship. There’s a lesson in that.

Kid number two needs two bags of fun-size Milky Ways at $6 each “Right now, Mom, right now, have you gotten them, yet? Because I need them tonight. For tomorrow. Right now.” For chemistry, of all things. I should’ve bought an extra bag for the teacher, because a person teaching chemistry to 15-year-olds with bellies full of Milky Way, deserves their own bag. 

I hope and pray the Senior is doing what he’s supposed to be doing. Lord of seatbelts and the DARE program, infiltrate the mind of the teenage boy. Scratch: infiltrate the mind of the teenage boy’s friends. They’ve got one foot in and the other one out. Lord, hear my prayer.

At that moment, mid-teen-boy-prayer, standing in a kitchen wrecked by the chaos of a school morning, something pretty profound walloped me in the face. 

“I’m not sure we’re school people. That’s the problem,” I realized. Then the Spirit whispered, “Dear, you’re not ‘function in normal society’ people.”

I’m practically giddy with excitement over my freeing revelation. 

“Yeah! Wait a minute!” I exclaim to no one, further solidifying the Spirit’s aforementioned whisper, “We’re savages. Meant to run wild and pick berries off of bushes and smear clay in zigzags and pictures on the walls of caves! That’s the answer! We just evolved too much. Too soon. We weren’t ready! It’s why we live at the intersection of Little Bubby Child and Rush Tik Tok!”

Twirling like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music, I exhale a sigh of relief over my newfound truth, and declare, “Not only are we savages, we’re summer savages. We’re not fall ‘get it together people’! No! We’re surfboard, sailboat, and ice cream summer people…in a world of salads, sadness, and organizational tips!

We’re trying to be fall in a place that feels like summer forever!

Winona Ryder tried to warn us. Way back in 1994. And I didn’t listen. I just plowed straight ahead into reality like the maniac I am.

Don’t get me wrong. I love education. Give us all the books. Tell us all the things. We are a curious lot. We want to know about bioluminescence in Ecuador and the impacts of the French Revolution. We talk politics like TMZ talks celebrities.

Coming to terms with the demands of a school year with three kids, I’m already longing for the memories we made this summer floating in the water and lazing around on the sand. We road-tripped, and Blue Angel’d; we listened to live music and ate fresh fish; we ate hot dogs and crackerjacks and loved every minute of living in this beautiful place.

I Google how to escape society and move my family to Bequia Island. “Summer Forever!” I yell at no one. 

“Perhaps you’ve overreacted,” I conclude after reading tales of weird species of spiders and no Wi-Fi. 

I wipe dropped peanut butter and jelly globs off the counter and pull myself together. “Fine. We’ll be educated,” I mutter.

Ignoring my existential crisis over summer’s end not thirty minutes ago, I get in my car and drive. 

“Welcome to Starbucks, what can I get you today?” The barista asks.

“I’ll have a Chai Latte…hot. I hear the temperatures dropping to 77 tonight! I love fall, don’t you?!”