At the end of July, the Oh So Feisty One and Smartmom will head to Block Island with OSFO’s friend Luvbud for a couple of weeks of surf, sun, and bike riding.
But until then, OSFO doesn’t have much planned. And that’s just the way OSFO wants it. She made it abundantly clear that she wanted a few weeks of down time before going away. Besides, Smartmom thinks it’s perfectly fine for kids to have some good old-fashioned unstructured time in the summer.
Well, the first week of summer vacation is always a novelty. The release from school and its responsibilities is a real thrill for the whole family.
During the first week, OSFO had friends over. She cleaned her bedroom and threw out old books and clothing that she doesn’t need anymore.
That seemed fairly productive.
But week two of summer vacation was less so. Most of OSFO’s friends were away, and she spent the week sleeping late and laying around. And when she wasn’t sleeping, she had her face in Facebook or was watching movies and TV shows on her laptop.
Of course, the weather was very hot and you can’t blame OSFO for wanting to stay inside in the air conditioning. Still …
One afternoon, Smartmom was minding her own business when Crazy Lady stopped by.
“Why isn’t your daughter doing anything this summer?” she asked Smartmom.
Smartmom knew it was none of Crazy Lady’s business and she tried to ignore this unpleasant woman, who seems to drop by at the oddest moments. But that’s not easy.
“Why doesn’t she take teen pilates or a dance class at Dancewave?”
Smartmom didn’t know what to say. Sure, she’d be happy if OSFO wanted to take a summer class, but why was this any of Crazy Lady’s business?
“How about a job. Diaper Diva needs someone to take Ducky to her camp at the Botanic Gardens?” Crazy Lady said to Smartmom.
Smartmom knew that Crazy Lady had a point. The summer is a great time to try something new like a class or a part-time job. It can be a real growth experience.
Without stopping to catch her breath, Crazy Lady regaled Smartmom with tales of what some of the other children in the neighborhood were up to.
“My friend’s daughter is riding horses in Prospect Park and working at the Kensington Stables,” Crazy Lady told Smartmom.
“Another kid is taking sailing lessons at Battery Park City, and I know a ton of kids doing theater camp,” Crazy Lady yelled at Smartmom.
Smartmom found herself feeling lousy. Maybe she should have signed OSFO up for one of those interesting and educational activities.
She also found herself thinking back to her teen summers. When she was 14, Smartmom took pottery lessons. Truthfully, she was never able to center the clay, but she did make some nice coil pots.
Another year, she took sailing lessons in a Sunfish on Martha’s Vineyard. Another summer she was a counselor-in-training at a sleep-away camp in Maine. Still another summer, she worked at Broadway Smoothie, scooping ice cream and making milkshakes.
Crazy Lady was bringing up memories for Smartmom, but she was also making her feel like a slacker mom who doesn’t know how to fill up her daughter’s time.
She was also making her angry. What right did Crazy Lady have making her feel bad about her decision to let OSFO define three weeks of her summer vacation?
“Your daughter should be doing something other than lying around on the couch wit her computer …”
Smartmom had heard about enough. She stared Crazy Lady down.
“Look, would you just back off? My daughter is perfectly happy with her unstructured time,” Smartmom yelled at Crazy Lady.
“You’re just getting defensive. You know you’re a bad mom,” Crazy Lady taunted.
That was the last straw. Smartmom started pushing Crazy Lady out, but the broad put up a fight.
“You’re just feeling guilty because your daughter is wasting her time,” she spit out at Smartmom.
“Get out of here,” Smartmom screamed. “Get out of my apartment. Scram…”
That’s when OSFO got up off the couch and came into the kitchen.
“Why are you talking to yourself?” OSFO asked. “It was so loud I could barely hear my movie.”
Smartmom looked around. That’s when she realized that Crazy Lady had exited. She was glad that OSFO didn’t see her or hear any of her crazy talk. Smartmom wasn’t sure what to say.
“Oh. I was just singing along with the radio,” she told OSFO.
“But the radio isn’t even on,” OSFO told her, eyeing her suspiciously.
“Hey, do you want to go out and get some ice cream?” Smartmom asked OSFO.
“How about Yogo Monster?” OSFO countered.
“Great idea,” Smartmom said relishing the idea of taking a long walk on an unstructured summer afternoon.
Eat your heart out, Crazy Lady.