No Pool Today: A Short Story About My Summer

Sometimes I wonder what my parents did with us during the summer and then it comes back to me…they took us camping for a week and then told us to go outside for the rest of the 3 months. Just go outside and find something or someone interesting. There were no water parks or daily picnics. Once in awhile there were long walks to 7-11 for Slurpees, but no one drove us and we never asked. My mom didn’t take pictures of us kicking rocks at each other or putting playing cards in the spokes of our bike tires. She was probably sewing or making dinner or relishing in using the bathroom alone. Those days of 80’s parenting are long gone, but I’m bringing them back.

I really do love the 80’s and it’s mostly because of leg warmers.

I’m not taking pictures of everything my kids do this summer. Partly because they refuse and partly because I’m not convinced everyone in my social media circuit needs to know that we played a raucous round of Kings of Tokyo and then ate Klondike bars. Or that my kids watched YouTube videos for the afternoon while I paid bills and installed a new closet rod. I just don’t think the pictures would do our exciting life justice.

I’m also not going to the pool everyday. I’m just not. I have to shave a lot of body hair and find a swimsuit top and bottom that match. Once there, only one person out of 3 of us wants to swim so I’ve basically donated my money to the pool director for the privilege of sitting on a broken sun chair. There may be one picture at the pool, but that’s only happening because of a little thing new to moms of this generation…social media mom guilt. Everyone else is having the perfect summer and so will we, dammit. So stand in front of that diving board and smile or I’m eating this whole bag of Doritos by myself. Then I come to my senses. Most days there is no pool and when someone asks, I suggest they take a cold bath or go jump in the lake, which brings on eye rolls and a muffled groan. Fine by me, I’m bringing back 80’s parenting so I’m cool with not being cool.

Most of 80’s parenting, that is. I’m not giving up the internet and I would never ask that of my children. Mostly because I’m too lazy to do 600 science projects a day or teach them how to knit their own winter jacket. I’m a one project and done kinda gal. We made lemon bars together? Great. Now you are on your own, grasshopper. One hour of UNO? Hope you enjoyed because now I need to shower. Enter…internet entertainment. Yes, I know that makes me a bad parent but I’ve accepted that. I’m okay with being judged for not going to every library event or summer star party. I have a job and a house to clean and kids who are capable of finding a YouTube channel that will teach them how to make slime out of baking soda and lighter fluid. Have at it kids, I’ll be on the deck if you need me.

An actual photo of my kid camping. #fakenews

I’m not even sure what to share on social media regarding our summer. Perhaps a photo of my clean garage or the new mulch I put out front. A snapshot of my teenager napping on the couch or my youngest using a Little Tykes slide to do leg lifts while watching Netflix. The options seem endless, but I’m not convinced everyone needs to see all of our things. Had my mom been able to post all of my teenage summer photos on FB, I would probably be unemployable and living in a van down by the river. My kids need privacy and I need to stop feeling guilty. No one needs me to post 1,500 pictures to prove that we went to the arts festival and ate at the Pie and laughed so hard on the car ride home that there were tears in my eyes. My kids will remember that and I will remember that and one day we can all reminisce about that one summer when we took them camping for a week and then told them that the rest of summer fun was to find their own Slurpee. Or to get on the internet.