Monday, June 16, 2008

Better than Botox

What a fantastic Fathers Day we had yesterday. There was beautiful weather, good food, and an evening spent with family. It was such a blessing.

We are probably rare among American families, because my husband's parents and his two brothers and two sisters and their families all live in the same town. Our children know and are friends with all their cousins on their father's side -- 10 children in all. When we get the group together, they play like a fun little Irish tribe. It was great to see all the dads mixed in there, playing tag and hide-and-seek, one uncle reading my little girl a story when she needed a rest, Papa giving her a good hiding place under some pillows once darkness forced the game indoors. Recently, when we visited my family "out East", my husband told me, "You come from good stock." I could say the same about him. A loving family is something that should never be taken for granted.

When we came home, it was late, and my children were exhausted. So, it was time for glasses of warm honey milk all around and bed. For the first time this summer, no one argued with bedtime. And this morning, I think they're sleeping later than they have all summer.

That brings up an essential truth about the difference between being young and old. Older people look at vacation as a time they can finally rest. We hope, on a Saturday morning, to be able to sleep an hour later. We take Sunday as a day with no laundry (Whoopee! I'm keeping the Sabbath!) We hope for permission to be lazy at the pool or camping or at the beach when we're vacationing away from home.

Kids are exactly the opposite. For them, vacation is a time for adventure! They can't possibly sleep late or go to bed early -- they might miss something! Summer vacation is a time for county fairs and barbecues, late night fireworks and early morning fishing trips. Every night of summer vacation, no matter how tired they are, my crew fights bedtime. "Let's read a chapter of the Hardy Boys!" "Can't we just watch a movie tonight?" Even my youngest, age two, would love story after story more than ever giving in to the need for sleep.

And in the morning, I now know that the birds wake up at approximately 4:20 a.m.. We keep the windows open most nights, and once those birds wake up, my second son staggers out of his room, zombie-like. It never fails. We tell him to go back to bed until the digital clock has a number starting with 7. He'll probably only make it until 6:30. Then he'll play dirty and wake up the other kids.

As soon as I see my son in the morning, I know in my heart that our day will have to begin sooner, rather than later. That fact is admitted to myself only begrudgingly. (I guess I know which side of the old/young divide I'm on! Ha.)

I guess that's the miracle of Summer. When the kids get ready for an adventure, they can't wait to sweep us along in it. Each time our day begins, I can't wait see where these crazy little people will be off to. They wake up something much younger in me, and, honestly, much more fun...

Wait a minute! ... I think I hear a zombie in the hallway!


Midwest Mom
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