Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day two

Summer vacation. It is day two. Olivia told me yesterday that there were 79 days of summer vacation. I felt my chest tighten a bit when she said this. I love my girls so much, but I don't really play with them. I am just not that kind of mother. I wish I was, but playing games with them bores me to tears. I keep wondering when the game will be over. I know that is terrible, given that my time with them as small children is a small window, and one day, I will look at those dusty games of Sorry and Candyland, and feel sadness and remorse, but I just cannot bring myself to do it.
My mother never played with me either. She just...mothered. She smiled, and yelled. Well, mostly yelled, and she took care of me. She provided meals, and thought up stuff for me to do. She never played with me. I think that I wanted her to, but it was understood that she just didn't play. Am I wrong for repeating this cycle? Some days, I feel bad about it, but most days, I think that my girls have a pretty great life, and this is a battle I choose not to fight. I will not beat myself up about this particular shortcoming, nor will I point fingers at my own mother, and blame her for days not being entertained by her.
Summer was tough on Tulip Grove Drive. My dad was the only driver in the house. He would go to work, as a fireman, in NYC, and sometimes be gone for 48 hours. We were stuck, in the house. No ability to leave. I used to be a little jealous of my friends, that got to go to the store, and to the mall, or to the beach, with their mom. Everyone's mom drove. Except for mine. So we had a lot of days just being terribly, horribly bored. We had a little swimming pool in our yard. We called it the tuna can. It was small, and sat in the shade, so it was always freezing. A take your breath away kind of freezing. My mother used to tell us to go in the pool if we were bored, but it was so cold, and torturous, it had to be a heat wave to make you want to go in the pool. I remember being unable to feel my hands and feet, and playing with my brother, and staring at his freakishly blue lips.
We also didn't have much money when I was a kid. The pool filter was a source of financial stress for my father, as well as maintaining the pool. The whole filtration system was taped together with duct tape. It look like a little fountain if you peeked over the side of the pool. Water spraying out of it, from multiple breeches in the hoses. And the amount of electricity needed to run the filter was also a problem. Some days, the pool filter was shut off, and the water became a very light shade of green. My dad could not afford the chemicals needed to shock the pool. He would take a big bottle of bleach, and throw it in the water. A whole gallon. And the tuna can was small. Magically, the water became crystal clear, and in we would dive, gulping copious amounts of Clorox, and keeping our eyes open the whold time. I remember trying to focus my eyes every evening, and being amazed at the halo every light had around it.
Summer vacation meant everything to me as a kid. It was freedom, although, freedom was not often attainable, due to our lack of transportation. I drive. I have a mini-van. Today, I will take the girls with me to the laundromat and to the supermarket. They will be miserable. They will complain. We have no tuna can. Just a blow up pool, which they tell me all the time how displeased they are they do not have a "real" pool. When I tell them that I had a pool in my backyard growing up, they tell me how lucky I was. That makes me laugh.

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