Summertime Sadness: An Honest Letter to My Children

To my precious children,

I love you, and I believe it's always important to start hard conversations with these 3 words.

Here's the thing.

Summer Break is an incredible time. It provides ongoing opportunities for us to read wonderful books, embark on a few surprise excursions around town, curiously visit art galleries, eat delicious meals 7 (or 15) times per day, eat crazy awesome dessert every night, surf in Hawaii, play with kangaroos in Australia, and just generally appreciate the hell out of each other.

Why do you look confused? 

Oh yes, this is what you think everyone ELSE is doing, but we aren't doing these things and so your Summer Break sucks. Let us discuss the realities of our situation, shall we? 


We live in the desert. It's been a decade now, so let's accept it already. 

It's simply not safe to play tag or basketball (wearing jeans) when it's 118 degrees out. 

What? You have to wear jeans because you don't have shorts that fit? Okay, but how would I know that? Have you SEEN the laundry room? I'm pretty sure you've been wearing the same thing for weeks. The clothes aren't going to put themselves away so let's play a game. No, not Minecraft. This one is called In Whose Room Does This Clothing Item Belong?

Hint: Mom's Room will never be the answer.  

After that, there's an adorable coffee shop just a block away. You can walk there (in your newly found shorts) and get lemonades with a shot of raspberry syrup!

No, you can't get giant smoothies. There are 5 of you; do the math. Unless you want to pay for them out of your own money?

I didn't think so.

I know. The whole experience is ruined now. 

But go. And have super fun. But please don't look so excited. It makes it hard for me to feel like I'm doing a good job.


Speaking of being excited, I don't know why I didn't see it before. Why on earth would you want to read when you can spend ALL DAY exploring the worlds of Minecraft on your iPod/Pad/whatever?

Oh. Your device is dead and there are only 3 chargers to go around and they're all missing? Yeah, that's a tough one. 

So now that the map you're building (or whatever the hell you do on there) is no longer an option, who wants to go to the library or the bookstore and pick out a book about something (or someone) interesting? 




I know. It's impossible to decide where everyone will sit in the car to ride a whole 8 miles to Yogurtini where I'll drop $30 on frozen yogurt with a side of "This is the worst day ever; they don't have gummy worms to go on top."

But I get it. It's totally reasonable to be unwilling to sit in the back row because someone (and by "someone," I mean a ghost) left an empty chocolate milk cup back there 2 weeks ago and no one will just throw it out already.


Yes, art galleries and the like are completely out of the question. We don't know how to feel in too-quiet environments. It's just so outside of our element, and it's uncomfortable. Also, you can't take drinks into art galleries. Which is too bad because it would be really easy to grab water bottles from home since there are 37 on the counter. 

Even though there are only 5 of you.


It's so weird. To my eyes, the refrigerator is full. But I see it from  your side now: it's full of apples, organic strawberries, a watermelon that needs to be cut, and weird eggs. "Weird" meaning light green because they come from happy chickens. But I know, weird is different, and different is bad. I totally should have realized that. 

No, the pantry is not full of Nutella and mac and cheese. You are correct. By the way, how do y'all go through an entire jar of Nutella in a day? Is it perhaps because you don't scrape the excess off the knife back into the jar? Because I swear to all that is holy, there are 16 Tbsp of Nutella in that sink every night covering the knife blades. 

As for why there is no more mac and cheese, well, you are brilliant chefs, and I'm so proud to know you can work the stove and, at the very least, make yourself this carb-laden meal. But it does beg the question: if you can MAKE it, how hard is it to put that pot in the sink and fill it with water when you're finished? 

The last time this happened, I said I wouldn't buy mac and cheese anymore if I ended up cleaning the pot. I ended up cleaning the pot and, well, there you go.  



Desert is a treat, not part of the nightly meal. I've been saying this since 2001. Will it EVER sink in?  


You know what they say about the grass always being greener. Wait, you don't? I'm sure there is a book about this concept. Shall we go to the bookstore? OKAY! Geez. Stop screaming.

Anyway, from what I've heard, you can't really pet the kangaroos. Or ride around in their pouches. 

It's kind of like Disneyland---parents think it's going to be all "I love you so much for bringing me here, Mom" and instead it's more like, "I'm tired! My feet hurt! We've been waiting for 7 minutes to get on this ride! I'm hungry! I don't like giant turkey legs; they're weird!" 

Also, 6 hours on a plane? You can't even decide where to sit in the car. How's THAT gonna work? 



Unfortunately, my job doesn't allow a Summer Break as one of its benefits. 

However, (among other things) it DOES allow me the flexibility to be here with you ALL DAY! (The eye rolling really isn't necessary. Please stop.)

It also allows to pay the (unreasonable) cost of seeing Minions at the theater with the reclining leather seats (the ones I can fall asleep in when I realize these yellow creatures are not going to speak English EVER).

Look guys, it's almost over. The school supply lists came in yesterday. In total, it's 8 pages long. So I'm going to get back to work. Then, let's take a trip to the store and work together to acquire it all. Quietly and happily. No we will not be getting Grande Frappuccinos on the way out. No you do not get paid for helping.

But maybe, if you have a really good attitude, I'll let you get folders with Nick Jonas or Darth Vader on the front.   

With Great Love,

Your devoted (and completely exhausted) mother

P.S. All those friends you think are in Australia, on cruise ships, and eating with reckless abandon (i.e., living the "good life")? Yeah, they are, by and large, also just hanging out at home driving their mothers to seriously consider a career as a professional drinker. Just so you know. 



This is so absolutely funny. And so absolutely true!


I forgot how much I love reading your stuff! You hit the nail on the head, as always.

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