Friday, June 14, 2013

One Day of Summer

For a New England town, we had an unusually snow-free winter last year. It was a good thing because my teenage daughter and I had tickets to fly to London for an important bat mitzvah. With even one snow day to make up, we would have been caught between a rock and Big Ben. But, it all worked out. My daughter graduated from middle school and within hours it seemed we were headed across the pond.

Thank you, Mother Nature.

This year, we made up for it. Snow, snow, snow ... and, for good measure, more snow. In Massachusetts, there are a minimum number of days that each public school has to hit. So, the school year has been extended an extra week.

This does not make for happy teenagers. (Or happy mothers, for that matter.)

We have one day between my daughter's last (and most dreaded) final exam ("Compare your freshman year to the hero's journey in Homer's Odyssey" — say, what?) and the start of her Horsemanship Clinic up in Vermont. One day. Un día. We're cutting it so close, in fact, that the equine is being shipped up a couple of days before us, because the humans will be leaving at dawn the day the program starts.

Now, you may be thinking "What's the big deal. You have a whole day to chillax." Mais, non. We have one day, a mere 24 hours, to shop for and pack up everything my daughter needs and everything that her pony needs. (Really. You should see the list. Fly spray and a dandy brush and epsom salts and an animal rectal thermometer. Who knew?)

And the thing that will take the longest will be cleaning her room. As much as it pains me to admit it, I've been losing the battle of wills surrounding my daughter's bedroom for some time. Now, as freshman finals loom, I've surrendered completely. But, we will have to attack it together on our single day of summer. We simply have to.

First of all, half the crap — er, I mean, stuff — that she'll need for her trip to the "Green Mountain State" is probably buried under the piles of textbooks, homework, dirty laundry and empty Sun Chips bags that currently cover her carpet. "I need socks," she whines. "I need shorts." I am positively positive that said items (and so much more) are in there somewhere.

Second, if she does indeed leave without tidying up, I'll be too tempted to do so myself. Sure, I'll try the close-the-door-and-pretend-it-isn't-there trick. But, I won't be able to stand it for very long. Soon, I'll be on my knees, digging through a semester's worth of junk. And, I'll make some judgment calls about what's too small, too old, too torn. Bulging bundles will go off to the local thrift shop and I'll feel so self-righteous. Until my daughter comes home. 

Then there will be all measure of teen hell to pay.

No, it's better if we tackle it together. So what if the weather turns out to be perfect? So what if we live near the beach and have access to a pool and a boat and numerous ice cream shops? I'll think of it as bonding time, a few precious hours (okay, maybe more than a few) of togetherness before my little girl leaves us.

But, I'm not going to share this idea with my daughter. She'll be in a bad enough mood without it.

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