All year it’s school and work and winter and worries and the other two seasons that are just bridges to somewhere else.
Summer is what we all wait for.
“Dad are we like already close to the end of summer?”
He counts on his fingers as he hops along the sidewalk on the way to day camp, week 5.
“Wow, dad, that went so fast. I mean, like, it seems just, eh, I don’t know just a few days ago that we did like the potluck for the end of, uh, the school year, remember?”
“Like it was yesterday.”
He looks at me to see whether I’m mocking him. I guess my smile must be benevolent enough. He chuckles.
“Yeah, it really feels like yesterday. I even remember how I didn’t like any of the food and you told me off because when we like got home I was like this ‘Dad, I’m hungry’.”
I make sympathetic mirthful noises.
“Dad? Do you think like we could organize it so that I could do special stuff like, I don’t know go to Tantine’s (Auntie’s) and like sleep over for, I don’t know, a day or two?”
“I’ve been trying with Tantine to figure it out, so that Melina and Vince (his teenage cousins) can be there too otherwise it’ll be pretty boring for you.”
“I’m so excited about going to Tantine’s. I love their house. and Vince has such an awesome room.”
“What do you like about it?”
“I don’t know. The house is like really big and everybody has their own corner and they all do their own thing, like free, you know?”
“Dad, could I like redo my room like Vince’s? Get rid of my bookcases and all the kiddie stuff and like paint in like really cool colors and then you know put my bed on the wall you know far from the window.”
Renovations? Home Improvement? Paint, furniture, mops, rollers, screws and hammers and ……oh cruel life! No longer traveling because I have a kid is hard. Having less and less of an adult life is hard. Living in one place for years is hard.
But Home Improvement???
If this doesn’t prove my unconditional parental love I don’t know what will.
“Dad, when are we going to see Ice Age 4, Continental Drift? I’m excited to see it.”
“Noah, it’s barely been out for ten days.”
A silence. Shit. That certainly means he’s counting.
I knew it!
“…it’s been out eleven days.”
“If you count today.”
“Well yeah. Are we going today?”
“So, you see dad? Eleven days plus like three years, yeah, because Ice Age 3 Dawn of the Dinosaurs came out in the summer remember when we were in Italy. Yeah.”
Amazing how his mind is a steel trap when it comes to the Ice Age film titles and release dates but is a rusted old tool when it comes to his chores.
“And dad when are we going to La Ronde together? Because I mean it was fun to do the roller coaster with Alissa but I really want to go with you, too.”
So…my summer will be painting his room, seeing cartoon mammoths and puking in roller coasters. How many weeks of summer left? I start counting on my fingers, like Noah.
I’m busy! Don’t distract me, I’ll lose count.
“Dad? Can we go on a trip like for a week or maybe two?”
Minimum $5 000.
“Too expensive, Noah.”
“Awww-unh! But it’s so awesome like to go see my cousins and all that. And like the day camp is cool but you know, we always do the same thing. So yeah, it’s boring.”
“Italy is awesome, but not this year.”
Silence. Oh! oh!
“Dad, can we buy a flat screen TV?”
“Yeah, because we have a square one and we lose stuff on the sides, you know? Sometimes they’re like talking and I don’t even see them. Sucks.”
If he only knew all the “stuff” I no longer see or touch or taste in order to be a good dad.
“Yeah, I agree, it sucks.”
“So, when, dad?”
“Noah, can we just do our things today? You do day camp, I do work and that’s all. No planning, no buying, no asking for anything.”
“But, dad, listen to me. Summer is almost over, you know?”
“Oh, I know alright.”
So leave me alone !!