Day 9: I don’t have long now. I am very weak. I fear by the time you receive this I might be gone. The outcome of summer lock-down with my kids is unclear, but I want you to know I held out for as long as I could. I waited. Every day I waited, scanning the horizon for re-enforcements. They never came. I will put up a valiant fight, but in the end I may not be strong enough.
For as long as I am able, I will continue to write, numbering the days. That way my final moments and what, ultimately, lead to my untimely demise can be pieced together – in case Jon Krakauer ever wants to write a book about my brave yet failed struggle for survival. It’ll be just like Into the Wild, Krakauer’s account of Christopher McCandless, the young transient who vanished after college to live off the land in the Alaskan bush alone, which was based on the journal McCandless left behind.
When I began writing this that journal immediately sprang to mind. How similar our two stories were – except I’m not in Alaska, and I don’t have to gut a moose for survival or live in an abandoned, hollowed-out school bus without heat or water for the entire duration of the Alaskan winter. So maybe our stories aren’t exactly identical. Still, the fact remains both our lives remained in precarious conditions and under grave danger.
Allow me to recount the tale.
With the final days of summer upon us and camp long over, I was forced to confront something I did not want to have to face: My children (and the gaping stretch of wide-open time before the start of school I was now saddled with filling). So I did what I always do in times of need or nervousness. I turned to social media.
“While Day 1 of Mommy Summer Camp went unexpectedly well,” I wrote on Facebook, “Day 2 found me screaming at the kids. By Day 3 I was no longer on speaking terms with my family. What will Day 4 bring? The kids might be out on the street with a sign reading, ‘Free to a good home.'”
Even though Day 1 went surprisingly well, calling into question my harsh assessment of my children and their ability to utilize vast quantities of unstructured, free time somewhat productively without my direct and continued involvement, Day 2 brought my real life back into sharp and painful focus.
Day 1 was an aberration. Day 2 was my reality. It took a mere 48 hours for all structure, protocol and communications to break down and my vision of the final weeks of summer to play out exactly as predicted. At least, I no longer needed to feel bad about any undue harshness.
There I was racing around trying to care for and occupy the kids while simultaneously attempting to get my own work done as The Kid moped around, grumbling about how I was inconveniencing her by delaying her transport to a friend’s house.
“Now I’m going to be late!” she shrieked, storming off.
Oh, OFM don’t play that. This is the part in the status update where I was “screaming at the kids.” Only by screaming I mean cursing. And by the kids I mean The Kid. She drove me to it. And it was only the second day.
Let me pause for a moment here so we can soak in the absurdity of her statement. She was upset because she was going to be late to… do what? Hang out? She was freaking out on me, her parent, the very person on whom she was dependent for the ride because she was going to be late for nothing. I let her have it.
Then I drove her to her friend’s house. After that I exacted my revenge. The next day her request to go over to a friend’s house was denied, and instead we spent the entire day running errands. By the end the kids were fairly miserable.
So I think I made my point.
I’m not sure what Day 10 or 11 or 12 or any of the rest of the days will bring. I’m too scared to think about them. I’m fearful and still unsure as to whether I’ll make it, but perhaps I do have a fighting chance after all.
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