David's Blog | Summer 2012
David's Blog
There is only one success--to be able to spend your life in your own way.-Christopher Morley
Summer 2012
By David
Posted July 10, 2012

Exotic birds make exotic sounds. Presumably, at least, the sounds must be coming from exotic birds. Otherwise, I need to call an exorcist to my back yard.

The thought occurred to me this evening, as the sound of the kids splashing in the pool mixed with various bird calls. Now that we live in an environmentally protected pocket of Southern Californian suburbia, nature really is all around us -- for better or for worse.

In the San Fernando Valley today, the temperature soared above 100 degrees for the first time this summer, but in our slightly cooler neck of the woods, toward evening-time it actually feels very pleasant, and I get to enjoy the sounds of the children playing together nicely.

"Five minute warning, it's almost time to come out and take showers" I call out to the Good Boy and the Sweet Sweetheart.

"But Eema [mom] promised we could stay until 7:15!"

History is made in the summer of 2012
History is made in the summer of 2012

"Guess what? It's 7:10 now," I explain.

"Fine... We'll be out soon."

As an experienced dad, I know that in kid-speak "soon" means "sometime in the future, whenever we feel like."

But, by the same token, as experienced kids, they know the actual time is at least 5 minutes earlier than grown-ups claim, when their bedtime approaches.

So, I smile and leave the kids to their own devices for another 10 minutes.

The summer of 2012 is going very well, so far, and I enjoy the thought of how different it is turning out than last summer. Our house is peaceful, with no construction mania going on. The kids love their summer camps, and their new school turned out to be an incredible improvement over the last one they attended.

* * *

It's three weeks later, the first week of August -- a week like no other. For the past 11 years, Beautiful Eema and I have devoted the vast majority of our lives to raising our kids.

That means that it's been 11 years of making sure that our children have been fed, clothed, and washed. That they have snacks and lunches packed every day (most often with different meals for each child). That they are being driven to and from school and camp promptly, that they are being delivered to their orthodontist appointments regularly, that they're wearing a normal outfit each day and that their teeth are brushed. This in addition to making sure that their homework and class projects are being done and handed in on time, and filling out endless forms and applications for their school, camps, and extra-curricular activities.

And, of course, all this is in addition to about a million other kid-related chores that we do, and services that we provide every single day for the past 11 years, as we have never had even a single full day or night away from our kids, with the exception of 2 brief cross-country trips I've taken over the past several years, for various specific reasons.

In truth, I'm not complaining about the things we do for our kids. Every typical parent works harder than they ever thought possible for their children. That's just a given. It's true even for those of us who are not obsessed helicopter parents.

But... The point I was making is that this past week, both our children have been away from home at sleep-away camps, and for the first time in 11 years, Beautiful Eema and I stayed home alone.

How was it?

Well, let me first start by saying that we absolutely love and adore our children. We miss them dearly, and have been very relieved to follow pictures of them posted online by their camps each evening, so we know they're having fun. Once that's been established, we've been able to sit back and relax a bit.

Under normal circumstances, I'd say that "getting someone ready" early in the morning to start their day, every day, for more than a decade, is unthinkable. That's especially true for me, since I can barely drag myself out of bed and keep my eyes open in the 6am zone. Yet, that's been part of my daily routine, including most weekends, basically since the children were born. But, for the past week, we've been able to sleep much later. I haven't prepared or packed any snacks or lunches, I haven't told anyone to stop fighting, I haven't fought with anyone about brushing their teeth or going to bed on time. I haven't even driven anyone to an early morning drop-off at school or camp.

Wow, it's been so incredibly peaceful and relaxing.

Still, there are many things I miss about having the children around. Maybe this is taste of the "next phase" of parenthood, when the children go off to college? Time will tell...

For now, it's about one day away from the time Beautiful Eema and I will awake again at 6am, and quickly get ready to drive 130 miles to pick up the Sweet Sweetheart from camp. One more day... What to do, what to do?

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