I’d like to think it’s the heat, but in reality, it’s just the fact that during summer I need a break, so I step down from my job as Admiral. With no one steering the ship, it’s sheer bedlam. The kid goes to bed whenever his eyes seem to shut and wherever his body seems to flop. Last night that just happened to be on the dog bed. Dinner consists of whatever’s left over in the fridge. You’d be surprised at how good a peach, pickle, and broccoli sandwich can taste on a hot summer night. Showers are taken only when others stop the elevator we’re riding in and insist on walking up the remaining nine flights of stairs. Clothes are washed when we jump into the pool wearing them and teeth are considered brushed when the dog licks you on the face. During summer, the rule of thumb in our house is that there are no rules. Needless to say, summer is my son’s favorite time of the year.
This summer, that changed. To my son’s horror, he was given homework to do. He had to…read. Books. Did you hear that sound? That’s the sound of the world grinding to a halt. No matter how hard I’ve tried, my son does not like to read. Not a cereal box, not a “Stop” sign, not a price tag, not a comic book, not a sports magazine, not even that cautionary warning on the tube of Krazy Glue, which would’ve saved us a few trips to the emergency room (though if my son ever commits a crime and uses just his right index finger, he won’t leave a print behind).
Both my husband and I are avid readers, devouring books, magazines, our neighbor’s mail…whatever we can get our hands on. When my son was a baby, I read to him. As a tot, we patted the bunny, said goodnight to the moon, and wondered why the hell Curious George wasn’t more curious about a weird guy wearing a big yellow hat. As a young boy, I bought every type of book that seemed geared toward his interests, though finding one that had a young CIA spy who slept on a trampoline and carried a blankie around wasn’t easy to find. None of it worked.
But during this summer of chaos, something wonderful happened. Just yesterday I saw my son, lounging on the dog bed, reading. He wasn’t listening to music or typing away on ichat, he was just reading…and smiling. He doesn’t know it yet, but this will be his best summer ever.