By Eliska Counce, TSB Columnist
I am in a hostage situation, dear reader, and it is called Summer Vacation. I am huddled in a back room of my house. Every now and then there are screams suggestive of blue murder. Doors are slammed. The house shudders on its frames. Literally and as I write this missive, my six year old is pounding on the door which sounds like it might not hold him. I am afraid. Very afraid. My captors are unpredictable, moody and demanding. It’s touch and go here, folks.
Because we’ve reached that point in the summer where it’s all been done. Movies: seen. Ice cream, Popsicles, and sno cones: eaten. Bounce houses and indoor fast food playgrounds: visited and exhausted. And sibling rivalry is weapons grade. It ain’t easy. Parenting requires athletic gear this time of year, and I know I’m not alone in this Grownups Vs. Summer Vacation battle. I am not the only one who knows exactly how many hours there are before the school doors open for the fall. I may be the only one with a countdown timer on my iPhone, but I digress.
But that’s the way of life, no? The struggle du jour. It was TH Thompson who said, “Be kinder to people than necessary. For everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” And these battles are often internal and unsung. That’s why it’s so necessary to make yourself the hero in your own epic, channel your inner Homer. Sing your own praises. And since I have a blog, you get to hear about mine. Curb your enthusiasm! Here are some other battles I am totally kicking tail in:
Me Vs. The Heat. I do think Texas has cooked me a little, because the heat doesn’t goad me quite like it did once. I’ve become more used to the constant feeling of having been dipped in some kind of marinade. Super proud of my attitude about the heat this summer: it’s not as brutal as last year, and every year as a Texan I learn to wear fewer and fewer clothes in August. It’s called linen. Look it into it. Go me! Dressed as a Bedouin, evidently.
Me Vs. The Gym. I get there! I even get up to run before the sun comes up with a modicum of patience. I get exercise even when I really, really don’t want to. I deal with crowds of sweaty people who violate the gym’s equipment cleaning policy and make the most unpleasant faces, smells, and sounds while they work out. I deal with ghetto equipment and malfunctioning music players and treadmill televisions. I get there despite traffic and construction, extra child care expense, and the oog factor of sitting on benches big sweaty men straddle. And since we mentioned it:
Me Vs. Traffic and Construction. Gandhi himself would be leaning on the horn and giving some of y’all the one finger salute the way you drive and with the unending construction in my town. You’re on my ass. Your foot’s on the gas. You merge mercilessly. You seem to possess a death wish, whether yours or mine. But since being in the car is one of the only times I am alone with my thoughts, you don’t infuriate me like you used to do. Hell, even the blocked lane that may or may not make me a half hour late? I’ve begun to approach it in a Zen like manner and a chance to hear myself think. Related: I RULE. And I don’t road rage.
Me. Vs. The House. Every day: three meals. Two snacks. Five people and two dogs. Hubs recently calculated my children consume .6 pounds of Goldfish each a week and a half gallon a milk daily. Frightening domestic science. Procuring and cleaning up. Thankless, thankless, repetitive and tedious dishwasher loading and unloading. Sweep. Mop. Repeat. Trapped inside with every tiny plastic Chinese toy ever made strewn over every square inch of carpet. I’ve got two young boys who couldn’t hit a toilet if their very lives depended on it. For every puddle of urine I clean: HERE’S TO ME. Because housekeeping is a lot of work that, most elegantly put, sucks.
Me Vs. Cheese. The fat chick inside me can get really mad. Because I don’t let her eat like she wants. Nothing props me up in front of the pantry more quickly than a little stress, too. So the summer pretty much has me hungry. Summer is the time of movie popcorn, ice cream, barbecue…hey, is anyone else hungry? But on the whole, I’m doing well not to eat my weight in creamy French cheese which incidentally is my heroin, even under some very tough times. ROCK ON.
I could go on. But I think you get my point. Make yourself the hero of your life, and take time to celebrate your private victories. Because it’s the story of your life, and you are the star. Maybe it’s You Vs. The Kitchen Remodel. Or You Vs. The In-Law Visit. Whatever they are, take time to appreciate your every day heroics. The hardest parts of life are the struggles that seem unseen and repetitive. It’s worth it to celebrate you and every hurdle you leap every day. I see you. Way to go, hero.