I am so tired. I'm tired of my kids. I'm tired of other people's kids. I'm tired of conversation, of human society.
I think I have reached my threshhold for engagement, and now I need a retreat into a dark, quiet place. Preferably a place with cable TV. (But we know that's not going to happen, don't we, Mr. Peevie? Whatever.)
Usually I like the fact that our house is the command center for the block. All the kids show up here, play here, eat here, make noise here. Now that we have a pool, they also change clothes here, swim here, and eat even more here. Many of them don't bother to bring their own bathing suit or towel. They don't eat before they come over, and they have no qualms about asking for food. Hell, they don't even have qualms about opening the 'fridge and helping themselves!
As I said, on most days, this does not bother me. I'm glad my house is a safe, fun haven for kids, that I know where my kids are. I'm happy to give some extra loving to some of these kids who really are in need of extra loving.
But I have pretty much reached my limit. This week two neighbor kids slept over two nights in a row because the AC was out in their house. My kids left for camp at 10 in the morning, but the extras stayed around most of the day. The second day, not only did they stay around all day, but when it was time for them to go home, nobody was there. They ended up staying at my house for about 27 hours straight.
Another neighbor child is having problems at home, and shows up needy: underfed, underclothed, under-loved. What am I going to do, send her home? And even if I did, the door is sometimes locked and nobody's at home. Today she got out of the pool, came dripping into the office and announced, "J. and I are hungry." I meanly said, "Well, then you both need to go home and get something to eat." She looked shocked. Every single other time she has asked for food at my house (and God bless her, at least she asked!), I have said, help yourself to fruit, it's on the counter.
And then the other neighbor kid shows up with a plate of hotdogs from her grandpa. Instead of being grateful, I was annoyed. I was ready to send these kids home, but now I had no excuse for not feeding them! I harrumphed and growled about how I didn't want to feed a hundred kids, that I had things to do--but I sent them out onto the deck, all the while thinking, hey, if you want to feed the whole neighborhood, then invite them over to your house and feed them and clean up after them.
I know that little episode is going to show up on my heavenly report card with a big red N on it (for Needs Improvement, in case you haven't seen a report card in awhile).
My oldest spawn does not have camp, so he's home during the day. Often his buddies will hang out here with him, and even though they are only 11 and 12, they eat like NFLers. Then they leave their bowls and bottles and messes laying around until I harass them into cleaning up after themselves.
What with the dropping off, picking up, feeding, doing 50 loads of towels and bathings suits, grocery shopping, cooking, doing dishes, maintaining the pool (which is only about 1250 gallons but still needs attention--just like a pet!), and picking up shoes and socks and jock straps and cleats--my relaxing summer is turning into a summer of Doing Lots of Insignificant Crap.
And what with the herd of kids charging around my house and yard all day long, my quiet summer with my kids at camp is turning into a summer of Noise and Stomping and Door Slamming.
I'm laying all this ugly shit out here so you know who and what I really am, and what I am capable of being: selfish, fallible, mean, whiny, shallow, and just plain sinful. Thank God that grace is bigger even than all the dreck I can dredge up from my miserable, self-centered heart.