They say you are only as happy as your unhappiest child. Well, it's easy to see why I was happiest this summer when Ryan was busy with three different camps. No, not because he was out of the house and I could nap from my night time Netflix binge watching, but, because he was out of his room...out of the house...doing something...anything. This summer my son has joined the likes of the California red legged frog and the North American desert tortoise and hunkered down to aestivate this summer. Aestivate (or estivate) is a fancy word for hibernating in the summer time. Yep, no doubt about it, my boy is an aestivator.
1. To protect themselves from the heat. "It's too hot to go outside".
2. To stay hydrated when water resources are low. "We're out of juice bags again".
3. To avoid contact with other species. "I stay in my room alone all day because most people bore me".
4. To conserve energy when their food supply is low. "I'm starving because I ate breakfast late so I didn't want lunch at lunch time and now I want dinner, but, it's only 4:30 so I can't eat dinner this early".
According to Wiki, "animals who aestivate appear to be in a fairly 'light' stage of dormancy as their physiological state can be rapidly reversed, and the organism can quickly return to a normal state". A shout of, "Hey Ryan, do you want to go to Rita's for a gelati?" will quickly awaken him from his "light stage of dormancy" as he bounces down the steps and grabs his flip flops from the closet. While enroute for his sugary, sweet, gelati, this awakened state continues as Ryan jumps in the car, removes his flip flops, crosses his legs and turns on XM Radio, praying an Ed Sheeran song comes on. However, as soon as the gelati is consumed, the car is parked in the garage and the flip flops chucked into the closet, Ryan returns to his room and his dormancy resumes as does my worry. Perhaps I should aestivate too. Or at least drink enough wine to feel like I'm in a "light stage of dormancy" until school begins.
I get and appreciate the lazy days of summer, but, holing up in one's bedroom day in and day out for most of three months, goes a little beyond lazy, a little beyond typical teenage slugdom, it truly is a little more like aestivation. And I, for one, am ready for my boy to wake up.
As I creep slowly past Ryan's room, to see if my boy has awakened from his long summer nap, I hear the sounds of Minions and Austin Powers scripting from his room and I immediately begin to wring my hands. My old BFF Denial magically appears and tells me, "He's a teenager. Ryan's older brother, Kyle, spends lots of time alone in his room too". The difference is, Kyle is never alone as he texts, snapchats and tweets. Since Ryan "does not participate in social media", he is literally aestivating...in his room...alone...all summer long, waiting and craving for his routine to begin again.
Yes, we will both miss our late night binge watching of Netflix and Minecraft Youtubers, but, we will welcome the routine of school, the routine of fall with open arms. I know once a routine is in place, my boy will wake up from his dormant like state just in time for the joys of early mornings and late night homework. And just as my son is finally waking up from his summer time aestivation, good old mom will be ready to settle down for her long winter's nap in order to avoid the pitfalls of homework and getting to know the teachers (again).
Ryan and I may be very different species with different routines and different periods of hibernation, but, I know regardless of what the future holds, we will get through each season together. As the gorgeous summer sunsets slowly head south behind the neighbors trees, taking away our perfect front porch view and giving us our first hint that fall will soon be in the air, Ryan will slowly start to wake up. He will occasionally join the rest of the family as we sit on the front porch enjoying one of the last remaining summer time popsicle sunsets. I love those precious, popsicle sunset family moments with sweet, sticky syrup dripping down our arms and spilling onto the porch steps. I hate those precious, popsicle family moments with sweet, sticky syrup dripping down our arms and spilling onto the porch steps which inevitably bring ants from the outside in, looking for more of that sweet, tasty goodness.
I love summer. I hate summer.