The kids end their school years today and tomorrow respectively. They only attend school for 2 hours on the last day and I always question, why they do this when they already have a half-day on Wednesdays. Why not tack on that two hours to Wednesday and give them the last day off altogether. How stupid and bureacratic and political and did I mention dumb?
So I have one last hour before summer madness begins.
It won't be madness so much for the first while, as we intend to relish the advent of no fixed schedule and homework. Holy Son was still studying up until the night before last. It's been a full-on year for him with school work but he's done really well. Straight As except for German and even then, his mark would probably count for an A- in a different grading system.
The best part of summer is not having to run around with the after-school activities like soccer, dance, jazz band, youth theater, Brownies and Boy Scouts, cello lessons...the list goes on and on in this insane house.
And that's partly why I've scaled back our summer plans, which would have seen us running around Western Canada visiting friends and family and schlepping suitcases in tow. We've always been vagabonds - it has fairly defined us these past two decades but I have to be honest, for the first time ever, I feel no burning desire to hit the road by plane, train or automobile. I worried this might be a sign of aging - this desire to cocoon - but I think it has more to do with coming off a very tiring year with the kids and house buying just prior to the market tanking.
Speaking of tanking, the good news of the day is that the Boeing Tanker deal is back on the table. This makes me happy if only because we happen to be a Boeing family. I hope they get their fair shot at the bid this time.
Anyways, that aside, we've also been busy gearing up for a Canada Day barbeque party we'll be hosting July 1st, on Canada's 141st birthday. This is the very opposite of cocooning, I realize, but I've been feeling lately as though I've been channeling the ghost of Erma Bombeck. I've been putting off having anyone come over because I feel bad about our lack of furniture, and our minimal decorating, and that I haven't painted yet so all the walls are pretty stark. And that some of our black plates are chipped, and that I don't have a full set of wine glasses.
And that people will come over and sneer, judge and zillow, and then make semi-apologetic comments to the effect that we must feel awful that we bought our house at the height of the housing market boom and now it has softened drastically. It's been like the conference of the neurotic birds in my brain - all this chattering of reasons why not to host friends, except the birds have not been mystical so much as foreboding and Hitchcockian.
Anyways, I re-read the Erma Bombeck poem - you know the one: If I Had My Life to Live Over....
If I had my life to live over, I would have talked less and listened more.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.
I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.
I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television - and more while watching life.
I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.
I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner."
There would have been more "I love you's".. More "I'm sorrys"...
But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute... look at it and really see it ... live it...and never give it back.
And so in the spirit of Erma's redux, I'm going to finally unbutton the hatches, throw open the doors and bring together an eclectic assortment of Curt's co-workers, our neighbors, old neighborhood friends and school acquaintances, etc. for a street party. We've promised fun, food, drink, frivolity and Canadian wackiness and by golly, that's what we'll deliver. And so what if the house isn't totally together....who cares.
It's such a useless worry, as is the one where I worry incessantly about mixing the various peoples in my life - the partiers with the teetolers, the introverts with the extroverts, the conversatives with the liberals. I worry about it being a melting pot about to boil over, when the reality is that it usually makes for a tasty, simmering pot of fun. At least history has shown that to be so when we've hosted similar open house events.
My RCMP red surge apron is arriving in the mail, along with a number of Canadiana goodies my blessed MIL was kind enough to ship.
And so that will be the kickoff to summer and hopefully the start of some desperately-needed sunny weather, if only because I've special-ordered it to arrive in time for the party.
Godspeed the sun, the summer and a little bit of easy living.