Spring, a season that by it’s name alone evokes suddenness and spontaneity, is teasing us. We know she will be officially here in a few days, but as of this moment she is revealing her warmth and brightness in much the same way a coquette bares her shoulder and then pulls her blouse back up to cover it. Snow, of course, will fall again…even if only to irritate us and make us feel stupid, or just so that we will then -after the disappointment of an interruption- resume our affair with warmer weather, with flowers, with lighter, brighter clothing…we then will embrace it even if the mosquitoes, flies, and other irritating traits will, well…irritate us later on.
I ventured into the crates of warm weather clothing and I know this is going to be something I regret. The one thing that will make winter tromp back into our lives is the banishment of all things that keep us comfortable during those cold, cold, wet months. I have hopes that a transitional wardrobe (composed of shorts and corduroy pants) will appease the weather gods’ sense of humor, but I’m not counting on success. Yesterday we risked enough by sitting outside sipping a cold beer with a wedge of lime in the bottle before the sun sank behind the hills…this is one thing that March doesn’t like, and it’s bright and sunny and warm today, but J motioned for his heavier jacket as he was leaving this morning and gave me an “ok…if you say so!” look.
The dining room floor is littered with plaid shorts in assorted sizes. You’d think five men live in this house rather than the three that, in fact, do. The pile of clothes that they generate is six times the size of mine, which means each of them has twice the amount of clothes I do. I can’t really explain how this happened, but it’s a fact; perhaps it is because I grew up around older people who only owned as many clothes as they could comfortably fit in a wardrobe. My husband and the children grew up with closet space. J, of course, is a clotheshorse and loves to find things that make him feel happy…like the rather loud Hawaiian shirt he always wears on the last day of school. It’s like sending Jimmy Buffett out to finish the school year. I’m surprised he hasn’t requested his very own Panama hat.
Times are changing around here. Whereas my house used to be littered in spring and summer by plastic pails, shovels, balls, bottles of bubble soap, kites, baseball caps and sandals, I now run into things like bicycle helmets, sunscreen, sunglasses, iPods, Nerf guns, water guns, discarded movie ticket stubs. Spring and summer were times when I was like a cruise entertainment director: here we are, in this small, contained space. Let’s entertain each other!!!! And the children would join in enthusiastically. Now it’s more like “hey…anyone want to do something with me?” and they smile and shrug and then decide they want to go to the movies to give me “time to read.”
I don’t resent it, really. I knew it was going to happen, but I still have to contend with that initial stretch of vacation time called Spring Break, or as I call it: Hell Week. It’s not that I don’t like having J at home, it’s that J doesn’t want to be at home anymore.
OK, let’s fix that. J wants to be at home. In his room. Listening to music. Uninterrupted by me. Just like Christmas, but warmer. And I then am on-call because he will get bored and expect to be entertained, and -because he has no other options- I will have to be ready to do this thing that I no longer know how to do. There was a time when, given a box of crayons, a magnifying glass and some sunshine, I could keep those kids entertained for hours. I was a HERO whenever I said “let’s ride the bus to the mall and go to the MOVIES!!!!” Y-ay MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ticker tape parade would ensue…I was beloved.
Let me try that now.
Anyone want to go to the movies????? (I say this while smiling brightly and doing the little mom-shimmy-shake.)
Crickets. Exchanged glances. Loud whirring of gears in young male brains trying to come up with a reasonable (or unreasonable) excuse to not do this thing. J curses to himself because he can’t speak up…damn AUTISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Great Gonzo applies the “leave no man behind rule” when he sees his brother’s pleading eyes…”please, buddy…I’d do it for you!!!! Don’t do this to me, man! Don’t let this happen! STOP HER!!!!!!!!!!!!” Uh, I was thinking J and I could put a Lego together…or go for a walk…or practice our sign language…
I get the picture. I throw them a bone. I’ve tried to persuade people to go to the movies with me before since they hit adolescence and I realize that the whole family going to the movies is one thing, going to the movies with MOM is another. A few years ago I tried to persuade TGG to go to the movies with me to watch Freaky Friday. (Please, do not scoff at this…need I say anything more than Mark Harmon?) No dice. He didn’t want to go. Then I begged for him to take me to Mamma Mia! (OK, that one is entirely because I used to dance and sing around the house and I was hoping to sit in the back to sing and dance along…) Nope. Not that one either. All I could manage, a few months later, was to guilt him into watching the sing-along version on DVD as a birthday present, and he did…singing through his teeth all along even though we were the only two people in the house at the time and, at his insistence, the curtains were drawn. To this day this movie constitutes a threat that will make people spring into action, make a decision, clean their rooms, get out of bed early in the morning… The power…the infinite power!!!! Bwa ha ha ha ha ha aha ha!!!!!!!!!
But, please, ask my children if they’ll go to watch a movie together or with my husband. Ask. Seriously. The answer to that is YES. They’ve watched anything and everything that they could think of at the theater with Dada. Popcorn, soda, candy, the works. The male-bonding ritual of watching things explode, burst, melt, crash, get obliterated…it’s been done. Over and over and over again…
I’m left with Spring Break and the lameness of being a female in a house full of men, and I get humored a lot. “Let’s go for a walk” and I see hands flapping around furiously in negotiations between the siblings that are trying to determine who, if anyone, gets to pretend like he twisted an ankle, got bitten by a bug…
Yeah…almost shorts season. Spring vacation is just around the corner…I wonder if I need to launch a full-scale operation to deal with this one.