I just love June in Oregon. The chilly weather, the intermittent downpours, the falling leaves… All these are a harbinger of summer, that short little cluster of days (three, I think) when we can count on some warm, dry, sunny weather.
The other thing about June, something I don’t particularly like, is the end of school. With school out, the nights will be resplendent with roaming, aimless teenagers making loud noises directly outside of our windows until the wee hours. Because they can. And there seems to be an endless supply of teenagers in our neighborhood, and they all drive noisy cars, and they are all compelled to speak at or above 120 decibels after 10:00 PM, and they can never settle on which place to hang out, which causes them to make many comings and goings into the aforementioned wee hours. It is enough to make one contemplate moving into a retirement community before one is 50.
For our district, today is the last day of the school year. Michael is wrapping up his tour of duty as a first grader.
He’s bittersweet about it. He has, over the course of the year, expressed some reluctance to go to school, wishing instead to stay home with mommy and play his games. But he usually enjoys himself when he is at school, returning reports at the end of the day about how he played with one friend or another, and chattering about things he’d learned that day. So we know he likes being there, despite what he might tell us on weekday mornings.
This morning his older sister, before she dashed out the door to blast through her last day as a high school Junior, tried very hard to draw Michael into paralleling her own giddy disposition, pointing out specifically that it’s the LAST DAY OF SCHOOL and AREN’T YOU SO GLAD TO BE FREE and WE WILL PLAY AND WATCH TV ALL DAY!
She somehow doesn’t grasp the fact that her idea of enjoying herself, which consists of wearing a long rut in the couch and flipping through channels, is nowhere near what his idea of fun is. He would rather dress up in his Tron costume and throw Identity Discs at bad guys (this usually means me) or erect fire-shooting cannon booby traps to catch unwary interlopers (again, usually me) or do some other physical activity involving another person (which is me if I’m not busy with one of a bazillion other priorities such as making dinner or bandaging my foot from stepping on one of his booby traps). I’m sure his sister had visions of one hundred and four days of Michael lying on one section of the couch and playing his DSi while she lies on the other and flips channels, each of them wearing through their assigned section of couch cushions.
Michael hasn’t handled the last couple of weeks well, knowing that the paralyzing reality of unstructured, virtually limitless time is practically upon him.
He likes order. He likes routine. He likes to have boundaries to push against. The thought of having none of those makes him uneasy.
As such, he’s been having difficulty falling asleep. He’s had difficulty controlling his impulses at school. He’s been feeling a non-specific malaise lately, and has had more than a couple of emotional meltdowns.
Fortunately, we were prepared for this. His mom signed him up with a summer program that will carry him through all three months of summer. This program will provide him with daily structure, with activities and with friends enough to keep his little heart and mind satisfied and happy. We’re anticipating a little bit of transitional distress as he settles into his summer schedule, but we’re confident he’ll enjoy himself and have his need for routine satisfied. Plus we have swimming to look forward to, in an outdoor pool, with his favorite swimming teacher. I think he’s going to have a good summer.
Of course, with Michael safely ensconced elsewhere, this means his poor sister will have to work on that couch rut all on her own. I think she’s up to the challenge.