Carpe Diem Y’all by Michele Bernard

Writer, Texan, Semi-interested Sports Fan

New Summer Hours

bus.jpg  School’s Out for summer – Alice Cooper

It wasn’t that many years ago that I was tasked by my employer to run fetch refreshments for an unexpected morning meeting with a very important client.  And she meant pronto.  I knew this not only from her terse tone of voice, but also because she screeched the word, “Pronto!” as she crushed a wad of bills into my hand. 

I drove like a mad woman to the neighborhood bagle shop where I found myself standing in line behind a large group of women, all around my age, all wearing tennis whites, full make-up and sun-kissed tans. 

“Tomorrow’s the last day of school can you believe it?” asked one to the other.

“I know, I hate it,”  replied the other, “I can’t stand it when the kids are home.  I can’t do anything or get anything done, and no matter what we do, it’s just plain boring after a few days.”

“I know it,” sang the chorus, breaking into a cacophony, singing variations on the theme:  school’s out for summer.

I stood listening (panicking).   Each passing minute of this conversation was delaying my return to the office where I would no doubt receive a heated lecture (ass-chewing) on the true meaning of the word pronto.  I felt uncomfortable feelings and judgements rising inside me.  Impatience?  Dread?  Pity?  Jealousy? 

I too was well aware that the next day signaled the end of another school year, the beginning of another summer.  And I too felt dread.  As a single mom rearing three sons, the last school bell sounded more like the bang of the starter’s pistol marking the beginning of a full-tilt sprint across a minefield of unstructured time littered with obstacles too high for me to hurdle, what with working full-time, carrying one kid, dragging another, and pushing the third in a stroller. 

In that moment, standing there with someone else’s sweaty money in my hand, listening to these women go on and on about their difficulties, how I longed to trade places with them for just one day.  How I wished they could understand what it felt like to want to spend time with your children but not be able to, how it felt to want to be bored, but not have time to.  How I longed for the luxury of drinking latte and complaining about my children with girlfriends after a morning of playing tennis.  Nevermind that I didn’t drink latte, play tennis, or have ill-mannered children I couldn’t stand to be around. 

As it turned out, when I returned to the office, the very important meeting with the very important client had been cancelled, due to the very important client having something more important to do.  My boss took her change and ignored me for the rest of the day, which gave me time to begin the process of re-thinking the way I was spending my time.  Within a year, I figured out how to combine two kid-friendly, part-time jobs (one even offered benefits!) that fit within the fabric of my  lifestyle, which included, spending summer time with my children. 

At this writing, only one child remains in the nest, but we still do summer, enjoying rituals and traditions established over the past few years.  Doing summer is a paradox of moving faster and slower at the same time, a blend of swinging baseball bats, golf clubs, splashing water, and lazy time curled up with a book or sitting in a darkened, cool movie theater enjoying a summer action flick.  Doing summer equals working less and being more.  

This morning, I went to coffee with my friend who drinks latte.  And we complained about our kids.  Because as they get older, unfortunately, they have less time to do summer with us.   

Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele 


May 31, 2007 - Posted by | Family, Michele's Musings, Motherhood, Parenting


  1. You are a lucky and smart woman. Isn’t it funny how you look back and wonder how you ever did it? I wonder where we will be in 5 years!?!

    Comment by blissandvinegar | June 1, 2007 | Reply

  2. bookmark you thx

    Comment by adult | March 20, 2008 | Reply

  3. hi nice site thx

    Comment by bob | March 20, 2008 | Reply

  4. it’s nice site

    Comment by kris | March 28, 2008 | Reply

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