Did you watch the Invictus Games? I got minorly obsessed with them. Every one of the wounded warriors competing had the kind of inspiring back story that makes a sporting event especially exciting to watch.
Summer also brings with it this year, as every year, the Must-Have Parenting Games -- and, just like every year, I'm competing. If you're reading this, you're probably competing too. These are exciting games, but no one wants to watch them.
For most Must-Have Parents, summer is the season of the slog. We just have to get through it.
I remember when my oldest -- a very active, big personality boy -- was about 2-years-old. Even though we lived near the beach, I didn't want to take him by myself because I knew that he would take off running as fast as he could toward the water and he'd just keep on going. I knew I wouldn't be able to stop him before he drowned. "A day at the beach" was no day at the beach for me. It was exhausting. I'd truly have put it up there with an Olympic sport in terms of exertion.
Around that time, I also remember standing in a bike shop and the salesman suggesting that I buy a toddler seat to attach to my bike frame instead of the trailers I was eyeing. I stared at him, aghast. "Are you crazy?" I asked him. "He'll bounce around in that thing, knock the bike off balance, and we'll wreck!" I was certain of that then -- and I'm still certain of it now. That's just how my boy was.
Little did I know that the physical exertion required of me then was nothing compared to the mental and emotional exertion I'd have to put out in order to spend a whole summer home every day with children while my husband was deployed. Every summer with my children home all day has been hard, but the ones when my husband has been deployed have been soul crushing. I'm not being dramatic. By August during each of those years, my soul was absolutely crushed.
So now t's time for the events we MHPs have spent the off season resting and training up for.
Fortunately, I won't be competing in every event this summer, but here are some of the ones I know I'll be doing:
All Day, Every Day, No Breaks
Going To The Beach Alone With Three Children
Working From Home -- With Kids in My Face
That event goes in tandem with:
Sitting In a Hot Car In My Driveway So I Can Have Quiet Space For Work Calls
Pool Party -- Two Hands, Three Kids
Science Camp Drop Off and Pick Up Is At The Same Time And 20 Miles Away From Gymnastics Camp
Solo Adult On A 500-Mile Road Trip With Children
And, as of this week anyway:
The Air Conditioner In the Playroom Is Broken And The Kids Won't Stay In There
I'm grateful that this year I didn't qualify for this event:
The Must-Do Parent Is Deployed
And especially grateful that I didn't qualify for:
Deployment -- And A Cross-Country PCS
And it remains to be seen who will have to represent MHPs in this one:
Household Head Lice
Two years ago, I took one for the team and competed in Whole House Tick Infestation That Lasts For 16 Months and I still haven't finished the race course on There Is A Colony of Moths Living In My Car, so I'm hoping those earned me a bi on all the other creepy crawly and critter events -- but you never know. I live in Florida so I'm pretty much the Bela Karolyi of parasites and blood-sucking insects.
The MHP Olympics are drama-filled, to be sure. And every competitor has a great backstory. But there are no gold, silver or bronze medals, only participation awards -- and you only get one of those if you survive until mid-August.
The award is surviving, by the way. That's what you win. A chance to do it again another day.
Let the Games begin!
Keep Up with the Ins and Outs of Military Life
For the latest military news and tips on military family benefits and more, subscribe to Military.com and have the information you need delivered directly to your inbox.