School's out for summer

It’s our first official school-year summer vacation! And it’s a summer that looks unlike any we’ve ever had before.

It’s our first official school-year summer vacation! And it’s a summer that looks unlike any we’ve ever had before.

It’s the Monday-est Tuesday ever but I’m not complaining. But I am panicking, just a little. It’s the first official day of summer vacation. The weekend and the Holiday Monday didn’t count, because that was a regular long weekend holiday.  Now it’s Tuesday and for the first time in 10 months the girls are out of school. It’s our first official school-year summer vacation! And it’s a summer that looks unlike any we’ve ever had before. 

Sure, I’ve been freelancing year-round, but this is the most freelancing I’ve ever done, and I’m doing a lot of it. Far too much too balance at the same time as the kids, my mental sanity, and the safety of my children. The past six summers, I’ve been home with the girls and freelancing on the side and it’s been manageable. Awesome, actually. Summers are the best part of stay-at-home parenting, if you ask me. Basically living in the backyard, beach days, day trips. It’s helped to have some teacher friends with kids who are off and friends on maternity leave. But that amazing season of life has passed, which makes me a little sad...the days are long and the years are short, or so they say. But I’m working - writing! - and it feels good. And I’m super grateful with what we have arranged for this summer. 

Because she’ll be starting pre-primary in September, we wrapped up Rosie’s full-time journey at pre-school. If Anna is going to be home from school, Rosie might as well be here with her. Plus  my rate is way cheaper than pre-school. Actually I guess it’s exactly the same. Instead of paying for her to attend, I’ll keep her home and the money in the bank! Shame the standard of care will decline. jk, jk. Kind of. The grandparents have ever so graciously offered to help out this summer. Between two days with my parents and one day per week with my MIL, I’ll be able to work full-time three days a week, rather than five days just during school hours. I’m confident I can get the same amount of work done with longer, uninterrupted work days and by adding an evening, weekend, or extra babysitting here and there when needed. 

I’m happy the girls will get some time with their grandparents, time with me, time for playdates, and time to be bored. Anna’s in a couple different weeks of day camp to give her something adventurous to do with some friends. Rosie’s still too young. But I’m still looking at three solid days to work and two days off to spend time with the girls, lapping up the summer. It’s the best of both worlds and a balance I am looking forward too. (Please check in on me in a few weeks. These could be famous last words). But hold on. I am actually lol-ing at myself right now as I re-read what I just typed. Rewind to “two days off to spend time with the girls.” HA HA HA. Reality check. These won’t be days OFF. These will be days filled with endless sunscreen applications, constant snack and meal prep, cleaning up, struggles to get out the door, sibling fights, whining, threats, and tears. Probably mine. Matt’s predicting it will be  2pm on our first day at home when he will receive my “I’m done” text. Give me some credit. I’ll at least make it to 4p.m! Hopefully our days together will also be filled with swimming, beach days, ice cream, playgrounds, water fights, and reading stacks of books. 

At the end of the day…there’s always wine.

At the end of the day…there’s always wine.

My thought/hope/prayers are that if I’ve handled the kids five days a week in the past, two days a week will be a breeze. Especially being granted three whole days to do my own grown up thing. The key will be to stay on top of my work so I can focus on my days with the girls, which will be a challenge. While flexible, the freelance life is unpredictable. And stressful. Sometime’s sources can only talk on certain days at certain times. Sometimes opportunities will pop up, deadlines will loom. So I’m going into this summer with an open mind to go with the flow and try not to stress. It’s summer vacation for my kids but I need to be the most organized I’ve ever been to make this work. So yes, it’s already Tuesday and omg it’s already Tuesday?! I have deadlines to meet! See? Already panicked. But at the end of the day...there’s always wine.  All of the wine.

Based on how insanely fast the school year went, I believe summer’s going to go by in the blink of an eye. So to all the work at home parents balancing your kids summer vacation, I salute you. May the odds be ever in your favour. May the force be with you. I’m here with you (lunch date anyone? Kidding. Nobody’s got time for that!).  I don’t know about you but I’ve already booked a very important vacation day for myself. It’s called the first day of school and it’s going to be all mine! From 9-3pm, anyway.


My daughter's potty mouth

Yes, yes she is a Rebel Girl!

Yes, yes she is a Rebel Girl!

Stick with me to the end, this is a good one.

Over March break, both girls were excited to head back to the library program we used to attend on a regular basis. I pulled into the parkade and parked in the same spot I always do. As I hopped out of the car I grabbed my parking ticket, thinking to myself, ‘don’t want to lose this again!’ I had misplaced my ticket once before and had to pay a $20 lost ticket fee to get out of the parking lot! I hadn’t had time that day to try and find the ticket because I was en route to pick up a kid from camp.

This time, I forgot that I actually started leaving the tickets safely in the car and paying at the exit with my credit card, as you can do, rather than the ticket machine at the door. Nonetheless, ticket safely tucked in my coat pocket, I got both girls out of the backseat, switching their rain boots to sneakers, arranging snacks back into the bags I had packed only 15 minutes earlier when leaving the house but of course they got into them, balancing my coffee mug and negotiating to “PLEASE leave the umbrellas in the car, we aren’t even going outside.”

Finally, as I went to walk away from the car with the girls, I patted my pocket for the ticket one last time and it wasn’t there. It wasn’t anywhere. I couldn’t find it. It had vanished into thin air. Not in my coat pockets, not in my bag, not in the kid backpack, not between the seats of the car, not on the ground, not anywhere.

The overhead announcement chimed in announcing the children’s program was about to start. We weren’t on time anymore, dammit. I dragged the kids over to the ticket machine at the entrance and buzzed for help. “Hi, yes, I JUST got here and have already lost my parking ticket. Can you issue me a new one so I can get out later?” The crackly voice on the line informed me to press the “lost ticket” button. “But that will cost me $20.” She informed me that was the only way to get out. “Seriously? But I JUST got here. I JUST parked. I need a ticket to get out in 45 minutes.” The lady claimed there was nothing she could do to help but kindly suggested I “take time and look for the ticket.” $#%^@. I kindly informed her that yes, I’d looked. Everywhere. That this was ridiculous and then I huffed away, not wanting to miss anymore time at the program I was now paying $20 for, rather than the $2 fee for parking for one hour.

While the girls played, sang and danced around under the guidance of the librarian, I sat crankily texting my husband about the ridiculousness of that system, which I was not trying to cheat. I wasn’t even trying to get out for free. I was willing to pay for my time parked. I knew it wasn’t the library’s fault, nor could they help me since the parkade is managed by an independent company called Indigo. Matt decided to call them and question the absurdity of the situation. After arguing their every point (they actually have no way of reviewing camera footage to see when cars come or go, and she even admitted they can’t see the license plates on the vehicles. So what’s the point of the cameras?), the woman finally gave in and said someone would call me to meet at the exit to let me out without my ticket. Hurrah! Finally some common sense.

Indeed, a parking attendant did meet me at the exit with a new ticket for a total of $2, as it should have been. Yes, it was a bit of a fuss but it was the principal of the matter and well, $20 is $20!  

Now for the best part of the story. Fast forward to about 5p.m. when we finally arrive home from a busy day about town. The girls run inside and as usual I’m left to carry in all the items accumulated and expanded over the backseat of the car throughout the day. I picked up a discarded rain boot, still left on the car floor from the morning, and there was the parking ticket! It was stuck to the bottom of the boot.

“You’ll never believe what I just found!” I exclaimed to Anna, the five-year-old, once I caught up inside. She stands there gaping at the ticket in my hand and replies, “Let me say it. Just let me say it. I need to say it!” I am perplexed and she continues with a big, booming, “Bullshit!”  

I can’t even get mad. I burst out laughing. She was absolutely right.