Tracy Lee Curtis

Kids’ summer boredom makes no sense

The first time one of my kids said “I’m bored” this summer, I thought how funny it would be if I said that. If I woke up one morning, wandered into the den, plopped down on the sofa and announced to the kids, “I’m so bored, there’s nothing to do.” How good that would feel. And how shocked everyone would be.

But in this life I’ll never be able to do it. Because when I wake up, I walk past unmade beds, baskets of laundry, strewn video games, a sink full of dishes and a notepad that screams “Column Due!” I’ll never be bored again.

I don’t get it. I’m driving my kids to camps, movies, tennis, play dates and pool parties, and in between I’m washing clothes, packing pool bags, planning sleepovers and they’re the ones who are bored? Can we trade?

Because I would love to take tennis, go for a swim, see a movie and spend the night with a friend. On a Monday. But I’d be hard-pressed to find a bored girlfriend. If I called a friend and said, “I’m bored, let’s spend the day indulging ourselves and then have a sleepover at a house where the mom gets us pizza,” she’d think I was insane.

Who started this anyway? What we adults call vacation, our kids call just another day of summer. Are we not going to accomplish anything for 11 weeks? Seems like a total waste of their time – and my energy.

But I have an idea. The next time one of my kids says he’s bored, I’m going to give him something to do. And I mean something I’m gonna have to do if somebody else doesn’t do it. I’ve cut 20 little pieces of paper, and on each one I wrote a task sure to turn that frown even more upside down.

Things such as Clean The Garage. Bag Old Clothes. Find The Remote. I’ve got Organize Your Closet, Wash Sporting Equipment, Rub Mommy’s Feet and Find The Smell In The Fridge. Then I’ve got Find The Remote again, because it’s always missing. Vacuum The Playroom, Wash The Car, Wash Your Hair and Download Mommy’s Favorite Songs On Her iPhone.

And I put the pieces of paper in a fish bowl on the kitchen counter. And I cannot wait for morning when somebody says they’re bored. I mean I am just giddy, because the second I hear them utter the “B,” I’m gonna say ‘go fish.’

And finally get what I deserve this summer, some dang help around here. My summer – my life – is about to change. They won’t be up 10 minutes before they start whining. And I’m just gonna sit in a lawn chair and watch them work, while Seals & Crofts’ “Summer Breeze” blasts through my iPhone.

Oh shoot ... they go to camp in the morning.

Curtis: tcurtis@charlotteobserver.com

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