Word to my mother, who today punched her very last clock after 17 years with the Mukilteo, WA school district (and nearly three decades altogether in the public school system). I imagine that, just like the kids in "Grease", she ran screaming from the building, throwing papers in the air, and sailed away in a flying hot rod. Probably not sewn into the black spandex catsuit, though, I'm hoping.
It was cool, having my mom on summer vacation with us when I was growing up--going to Baskin-Robbins or the pool, staying up ridiculously late, me, Mom and Sis all lying on the living room floor directly in front of the big box fan on the hottest nights. Mom agreeably scared the living shit out of us with inappropriate horror movies on the late show; I remember being so freaked out by "Wait Until Dark" that we cried, sobbing in terror but too afraid even to approach the t.v. to turn it off. Which was what you had to do, then, because remotes were for the Jetsons and rich people.
It got a little less cool, I suppose, when my mom took her hard-earned summers easy while I had to trudge out to some dipshit teenager job: frying corn dogs, selling ugly purses and vases in a gift shoppe. When I regrettably stumbled down the adult career path that requires me to show up at work FIVE WHOLE DAYS IN A ROW, EVERY WEEK, GOD, I grew impatient and irritated with Mom's obsessive day-counting in June, and the anticipatory fog of gloom that descended over her two weeks before Labor Day. I don't think the transition has fully registered with Mom, yet (and probably won't until September). This summer, Cookie is spending six weeks on a language-study program in Italy (go, Cookie!), and Mom is at something of a loss, not having her best friend handy for the first summer since they were 12 years old. "I'm going to have such a rotten summer," she wailed to me on the phone, two weeks ago.
"I do not want to HEAR it," I snapped, annoyed. "It is going to be summer EVERY DAY for the REST OF YOUR LIFE! You can do whatever you want, every single DAY!" It is my fondest DREAM, y'all, seriously.
But I'm sorry I barked at you, Mommy. You have done a good job--as an interpreter for the deaf, for mainstreamed kids; as an advocate for countless other special-needs students, and physics geniuses, and illiterate teenaged miscreants to whom you explained, "This is how the world works, not just high school. Do your time, go along to get along, and then get out while you still can!" You got bitten, by that one little horrifically neglected wild child...and you managed to ensure that that poor kid saw a dentist, later that year. You interpreted dozens of commencement ceremonies and no doubt have the words and signs to "Wind Beneath My Wings" committed to memory by now. You taught deeply autistic Pedro to exclaim with delight over "po-la bear!" and "butterfly!" And you were never above putting on a black plastic garbage bag and dancing around as a California Raisin for a pep assembly.
Congratulations, Mom. Turn your tassel! Now let's blow this popsicle stand!