Whenever August creeps up, and it always does, I find myself running wild, trying to suck the marrow out of summer and cram in all the things I’ve been meaning to do. The kind of list that has nothing to do with chores and everything to do with seeing people and swimming and eating berries and in general, ensuring that your kids, when asked by their new teachers how their summer was, will tell them it was the best. Ever. We’ve been doing that. Getting to bed far too late, but not being able to help ourselves because there is still enough daylight to catch a couple more frogs or for one more swim to the deep end and back. And so I find myself completely exhausted and snapping at the kids when they fail to fall asleep immediately in lieu of messing around in their rooms and asking for water twelve times. And by the time I fall into bed, after restocking the beach bag again, it’s seriously minutes before the morning is heralded by Tess climbing into bed with me and doing her squirrel in a paper bag routine. I staple my eyelids open, sniff my bra to see if I can get away with it one more day, say a quick prayer for extra patience and creativity and head off to see about breakfast for everyone. At least the Kevins are helping with that.
This morning there was a bite by a wild mouse with ferocious teeth and a tenacious nature which precipitated a call to the pediatrician and a rabies scare. It also led to the following conversation:
me: “Ok, so the doctors office is going to check with Dr. Meiers to see if we need to have the mouse tested for rabies. They’ll let us know. They’ll probably call us on the way to Costco. Now, if I have to ask you one more time to get in the car and buckle up I will surely scream. Oh crap the chickens are loose. Help me boys.”
grant: “So, if they want the mouse to get tested what will they do with it after they test it?”
me: “Oh, they’ll probably kill it.” This thrown casually over my shoulder as I took off after a particularly fast Kevin.
grant: “Noooooo. Mom, we can’t let them kill him. He’s so little.”
me: “Honey, he might have rabies. RABIES.”
grant: “How would they kill him?”
me: “I don’t know. Tiny I.V. and some sleepy medicine? I’m sure he won’t feel a thing.”
grant: “But Walter is so cute. And he probably has a family somewhere just waiting for him to come home.”
me: “Chase the Kevins over here and I’ll pitch em over the fence, rotten birds. Who is Walter?”
grant: “The mouse. And I’ll take really good care of him.”
me: “Son, we are absolutely, totally not keeping a mouse. I can’t stand them and he’s a wild animal. He’d be unhappy living inside. And it would creep me out.”
grant: “Mom, you just have to be brave. We owe Walter that.”
me: “First off, I don’t owe Walter anything. He already gets to live in my yard and eat my chicken food and he doesn’t pay a dime for either. Secondly, remember when I put Princess the Python around my neck five years ago at the fair? That used up my life time allotment of courage and exempted me from ever having to do another brave thing as long as I live.”
grant: “You’re mean.”
me: “Yup. Now get in the car.”
Turns out nothing to worry about. The field mouse provided hours of entertainment for us-better’n tv. And Grant’s finger is fine. And I’m not mean anymore. But I am tired and so sorry to have missed a date with my friend who I adore (you know who you are) but I haven’t even gotten out of my bathing suit yet and it’s after ten.
So, if you’re trying to suck the marrow out of summer, head over to August in Ada Kid’s Fair tomorrow from 10-2 and have yourself enough gol darn fun to ensure that at the end of the day your kids will be cranky and sunburned, but will come back to life and explode with stories when your husband walks through the door. And they’ll undoubtedly accidentally release their balloons into the stratosphere and not feel any better when you quote the first couple pages of Jamie Lee Curtis’ book about balloons. You’ll have to remind yourself, out loud probably, not to ask the Amway people if the hot dogs are kosher or the pony ride people if their animals have been vaccinated against Equine Flu. And you’ll watch the mom of the kid whose pitching an absolute fit with sympathy and thank God it’s not your kid only to have yours do the very same thing, only louder, an hour later. Your baby will poop black cause she’s eating far too many blueberries and you’ll remember you used your last wipe yesterday, your bra will be totally saturated with sweat before you even leave the house and so will your undies and your daughter will have to go potty the second you get there, before you’ve even uncapped your washy washy and gotten ready. But then your son will hold a bunny and melt before your eyes and your daughter will remind you how completely adorable she is (cause you’ll have forgotten somewhere between the port-o-let and the balloon guy) by dancing along with the ballerinas on stage. And at the end of the day you’ll be so thankful you sacrificed yourself on the alter of nearly martyred mothers for the sheer fact that they loved it. And you love them. Adore them actually.