Summertime Reactive Mode

For me as an adult, summer is flying by too quickly. But as a parent of three teen/tween boys….the school year can’t come fast enough.  When they are occupied for six hours, that’s six fewer hours of chaos in my life.  Fewer trips through the kitchen leaving a wreakage of empty cereal boxes, half-filled cups of milk, unidentifiable brown stains on the counter top and trash that’s clearly missed the can.

Photo Gallery Title: “Just Why?”

It’s six fewer hours of “I’m bored.”  “What are we going to do today?” (well, I’m going to work again….kind of like I do every day in the summer). “There’s no food in the house – only ingredients” (see paragraph above which indicates the high probability of food in the house). “Can you take me to the….?”  “Why can’t you take me to the ….?” “Now can you take me to the ….?” (stick an Uber sign on my van and load up that app!).

And it’s six fewer hours in which their brains can come up with things to do that they shouldn’t be doing.  Let’s take this week as an example. I’m about to walk in to see the first patient of the morning when the phone rings. I figure I have a minute to answer. “Hey, Mom, can Auntie pick me up to go to the pool in a little bit….oh, and….I kind of put the handcuffs on backwards and now I can’t get them off.”  (You didn’t want to lead with that statement?) “you have the keys?”  “Nope.”


Auntie picks him up.  He spends the next six hours hanging at our neighborhood pool waiting for his mom to finish work. I spend the next thirty minutes looking for a friend who might be able to cut them. One brings over bolt cutters and snips them apart. Whew – independent movement of arms! And then we head to the police station (now that he can put a shirt on).

After roll call finished, a SWAT team member….the sergeant…..another officer….two staff….approached to help out. Because, of course, this is not a regular occurrence at the police station. “So where did he get these cuffs?” they ask.  “Amazon, of course.”  You’d think I’d have been a smart mom and put one of the supplied keys in a safe place. And maybe I did sometime a long time ago….but I sure didn’t find a key in any of the searched “safe places” that day.

The fun (embarrassing, sobering, nerve-wracking) trip to the police station, though, did give us information that it was National Night Out and so we returned three hours later to visit the officers and firefighters and SWAT team in more relaxed and playful scenario.

“Want me to throw those cuffs away for you?” asked the officer once he unlocked them. “No thanks,” I replied, swinging them in circles as we departed and my mind started planning of oh the many ways these might be used for say….high school graduation party ….wedding gag….major birthday mementos.

As a parent of three teen/tween boys, there just have not been many dull moments this summer. I’m constantly in reactive mode, dealing with the random, sporadic, pervasive craziness that comes my way. Yes, the school year brings a different type of reactive demands, but maybe I’ll be able to use focused brain power for more than 17 minutes at a time.

And maybe, just maybe… lessened was learned this summer…have your escape plan ready before getting into sticky situations!