Here is an excerpt from my humorous memoir, A Dead Tomato Plant and a Paycheck, which is now under consideration by a publisher. The book is a compilation of columns I wrote when my kids were young and I figured if I found a way to laugh at our foibles, maybe I would survive.
Once all the kids were in school full time, summer time took on a whole new dimension. When they were all little and underfoot, seasons streamed one into the other without much impact on family life. We continued doing what we always do, just changed clothes to suit the weather.
That all changed when the kids were all gone for most of the day during the school year, then suddenly, summertime came and there they all were, cluttering up the house. Every last one of them. Every day. All day.
Often, as the end of the school year drew near and I looked ahead to the days of summer vacation stretching endlessly before me, I had a feeling of impending doom. Maybe that was because we usually failed miserably on the first day of summer vacations. Sort of like time trials in car racing. If you make it through without a mishap, you've got a chance at the race.
I would barely make it through the first two hours of:
"I've been waiting all winter to watch this show. You can watch your dumb show tomorrow."
"That's not fair! You can't watch TV anyway. You didn't do your work."
"What are you? The resident policeman?"
"I'm just trying to help. Keep things running smoothly so Mom won't get upset."
Meanwhile I was in the other room suffering from terminal motherhood, expecting all the fuses to blow any second. I had visions of that kid walking through the entire summer in a black and white striped shirt with a whistle in his mouth.
Maybe I should have just let him have a go at it.
As the fight over the TV would increase in tempo and volume, I would have definite impulses to do violence of some sort. And just in case that went beyond the impulse state, I had a defense plan prepared. By reasons of insanity: "Your Honor, no one in their right mind would ever throw a toaster at their own television without provocation."
Things went steadily downhill from there, and I questioned whether I would make it another day. Already I had laryngitis and I think I ruptured something in my throat. God wouldn't do this to me, would He? He wouldn't expect me to stumble through the summer without a voice to yell with?
I might have made it through that first day by sheer force of determination, if it hadn't been for this little kid who kept following me around asking me when we were leaving on summer vacation.
"We are on summer vacation!"
"No we're not! Vacation is going somewhere, and we're not going anywhere."
I wonder if a one way ticket on the next space shuttle fits the criteria of "going somewhere?"