After years of begging, months of researching if we could be held legally responsible for denying this boy his love, days of running the math in my head (if the average life expectancy of a rabbit is ten years and if most children move out at eighteen and if I don’t live that long, which is surely a possibility, then in which city are the trains most likely to pass each other and don’t forget to carry and reduce. And show your work!), we folded like a cheap suit and bought Peter a bunny. Meet Midnight:
That’s her in the box. If only…
After years of railing against buying animals from pet stores because of that one Dateline I saw about puppy mills in 1998, we walked into VIPets to get supplies and promptly bought the first rabbit we saw (remember? cheap suit…folding…). Of course she was black, his favorite. Of course she was the only one there, so lonely. Of course he had to refrain from even asking, just looked at her with his chocolate eyes, naked longing written all over his face. I have no weapons people. No weapons against that kind of cute.
I mean, seriously. Can you blame me. So, she’s like four and a half pounds, expressive eyes and great hair. We have so much in common. What’s not to love.
Tess might love her more than anyone. I have found Midnight on more than one occasion strapped into the American Girl doll salon chair trying on hats. And since this will come out in therapy some day anyway, I’ll admit to running for the camera before demanding she be freed from Tess and Solanda’s ministrations and given a hunk of broccoli for her trouble. Thank goodness she just wriggled free on her own and took refuge under the bed before I could get tangible proof that PETA could use against us someday.
She’s a fabulous babysitter. The day before school got out, Lucy spent 8 straight hours naked and at least a couple of them watching Disney Jr. on the ipad while Midnight nibbled apples slices and I worked furiously to get ready for summer’s imminent invasion of my Fortress of Cleanliness and Order. This is not the first time one of my children has spent the day naked. Won’t be the last either. I’m just trying to be real. I did put my foot down when I emerged from scouring the bathtub and found her riding her bike. She was wearing a helmet. But by then I was too tired to get her dressed, so I just carried her squishy self back inside and queued up some more Disney.
She’s an outside pet, which totally explains why she is living in the world’s biggest cage in my back hall while the deluxe pet hutch I ordered online for her sits empty on the deck. When I asked Dan if he wanted to build one, he looked up from his newest issue of Field and Stream long enough to shoot me a dirty look and shake his head. He’s been knee deep in building the Taj of chicken coops for the twenty six Cutie-Pies we have freeloading off us. It’s cost him hundreds of dollars and his mobility, but the chiropractor he’s seeing feels confident she’ll have him good as new in time for the next project. He’s thrilled. And so, as we anticipate skipping town next week for our annual trek to the U.P., we’ll be looking to secure a farm hand willing to take on 26 free loading Cutie Pies and a bunny named Midnight. Giddy up.
This is me being real. What new friends are you making this summer?
It’s Summer’s Eve (you know what I mean) and in a weird wonderful twist of fate all the Smalls are already sleeping even though we’ve totally gone to the dogs. While I was busily throwing away all the crap they emptied out of their desks tonight, they ate Twizzlers they got at school for dinner and washed it down with drink boxes left over from Grant’s fifth grade picnic. At one point everyone was on a different piece of technology and I was blissfully absorbing the silence while making the last lunches of the year, my least favorite school job. All the teachers gifts have been given, along with effusive thanks for the time they spent helping my kids get to the next grade. I’m banned from the last day of school since the Smalls have accused me of “crying all over the teachers and embarrassing us”. They would rather be the only three kids on the bus than have me pick them up. But I’m coming anyway because they will take the flag down for the last time and the fifth graders will sing to the sixth graders, who will then hand over control of the school to their successors and I’ll be glassy eyed and wiping snot onto my sleeve before they finish the first stanza. By the time they’re folding the flag into that little triangle, I’ll have turned to the mother next to me and asked her to hold me. I think I’ll take a preemptive Xanax and pack chocolate and a bottle of water in my handbag. I’ll wear super absorbent sleeves even if it’s a thousand degrees, which is unlikely. I’ll wear dark glasses and capri cargo pants so no one knows it’s me and I’ll avoid eye contact with anyone I know, which is everyone. So I’ll just stare at the ground or pretend to be looking for nits in Lucy’s hair. Because this stuff is emotional for me. Has been since the early days when I spent every morning prying a screaming Grant off my leg and handing him to a blessedly strong teacher. Those tears were a mix of, “Thank God we can be done with this” and “If it’s this bad next year, we’re unschooling.” These people, these teacher people, who we fall in love with over 9 months of emails and classroom parties and newsletters I never read through completely (which is why I almost always miss Hat Day! and Bring 100 Somethings to School Day!) have spent exhaustive hours with my people and deserve more than the box of fudge and book store gift card I got them. And this has been an epoch year for Grant, making me more emotional. I sat in the back of his classroom today during the video montage so he wouldn’t see me crying-the changes fifth grade has wrought in this boy. This year will probably never be topped for him. His teacher was the perfect fit for him. The perfect fit. Which is why I’m all worked up just thinking of leaving school tomorrow. But the summer reading tubs are filled with new books I’ve hand picked for each Small, spines waiting to be cracked, bookmarks with the prices still on. The first mystery trip is planned and I’m rubbing my hands in anticipation of 90 some days with them all to myself. There will be hours spent spearing crayfish now that the mosquitos have died down and the smell of sun lotion on baby skin and sand in everything and I can. not. wait.
But until then there is the grocery marathon to be run tomorrow as I try to buy three months worth of groceries so that I never have to go with four children again. There is a last day with Lulu all to myself while the Smalls are away, her wearing her Jackie O sunglasses and directing my every word from the back seat, looking for all the world like the love child of Barbara Streisand and Jeff Bridges. There is a new member of the family, Midnight, who we’ll have to introduce you to in due time because she’s wicked cute. And there are three teachers who are dear to me who have one more day with my people before they get a very deserved vacation. And by this time tomorrow I’ll have made an emotional boob of myself at the flag ceremony and Grant will have played his last baseball game of the season and I’ll be sitting on the couch drooling onto my shoulder while the boys watch something on the discovery channel with glazed eyes and crusty hands. Giddy up.
This is me being real. If I weren’t so tired I wouldn’t be able to sleep on account of being excited. You?
Because it’s been forever since I’ve written and I haven’t really missed it. Sometimes. Not much.
Because I nearly peed myself reading it.
Because Peter’s been asking for a bunny forever (FOREVER) and I’m spending what little spare time I have between teacher gifts and field trips to research hutches and breeds and building up my arsenal of reasons why a bunny would be a terrible idea.
Because she says it better than I ever could.
Jen Hatmaker – Worst End of School Year Mom Ever
This is me being real. Willing to arm wrestle Jenn Hatmaker for the title. Bring it.