When my thirteen year old stumbled into my bedroom last night , rambling that I needed to “put the batteries in the chicken tenders”, I knew it was time. The Summer gig was up. His brain is Kentucky Fried- extra crispy.
The kid needs to go back to school…Stat.
I can see the concerned e-mail of the near future…
Dear Mrs. Wynn,
I was so sorry to hear of your son’s Frontal Lobotomy this past Summer.
We would like to be able to accommodate your son, but the blank staring and drooling
are proving too much of a distraction for the other children..
Yep..all bets are off this year on whether or not the educators will be able to reboot their brains. The kids were left to their own devices this summer for the first time..another milestone. Two teenage boys holding down the fort while their parents scurried off to their jobs in a vain attempt to keep groceries in the fridge. No sitters and no more expensive structured activities to keep them supervised and out of the house while Dad and I slogged away..groceries in..groceries out..repeat.
In their defense, I know these limbo years are tough. Too young to drive, too old for anything that doesn’t require driving. They want to hang with their friends, go to the movies , get a job. My oldest did manage to find a job, but the ridiculous child labor laws limit the hours allowed. Seriously..who better to put to work than a young, healthy body? Let ’em haul, lift, dig, push and pull…use the entire surface of both hands, not just the thumbs that they text with.
But, all that hard work would interfere with Rip and Van Winkle’s new sleeping patterns…which I strongly suspect is all day long. With no parent home to make noise and nag them into consciousness, they have happily snoozed the summer away , cocooned in air conditioned darkness, each with a Labrador Retriever at the foot of their beds. I might be jealous..but I would never admit it to them. Instead, I lecture about their wasted youth and the shock that their bodies are about to endure with the return to school next week. When my son stumbled into my room last night, sleepwalking (a first) and babbling incoherently about needing “batteries for the chicken tenders” ..I took a good long look at him before gently leading him back to his bed…
Dear Lord..we have a lot of work to do.