June 7, 2016 MOM’S SUMMER PLANS!! My Mom is driving me CRAZYYYY!!! I’m sure glad I can get that out here, because otherwise my brain would explode. But that sounds painful. Also messy. Mom has realized it’s almost summer and has begun a TOTAL freak-out. I feel like this is new, but maybe she does it every year and I’ve blocked out the memory because it’s SO TRAUMATIZING!! Last night at dinner, Dad asked how many weeks are left until school is out (two!!!!) and ever since, she’s been NON-STOP talking about all the things we’re going to do. She’s trying to plan every second jammed full of EXCITING and ENRICHING opportunities! I was doing the dishes after dinner, listening to music through my headphones. I didn’t hear her creeping up on me until she popped up right next to me and said, “GEOCACHING!!” After I recovered from my HEART ATTACK I said, “Bless you?” Then she told me all about geocaching – a “super fun family activity” that sounds like a giant treasure hunt, except without any treasure. Sure, Mom, let’s do that. But she wasn’t going to be discouraged. Later, I took a shower before bed and I KID YOU NOT, she was waiting outside the bathroom the minute I stepped out. I was still in my robe!! “Nikki, you’ll never guess!” She actually SQUEEED. I’m not even kidding. “Every Friday night during summer, the Parks Department shows family movies on a giant screen in Lafayette Park!!” I blinked at her. “Uh, Mom? I’m dripping on the carpet?” She stepped aside but followed me to my bedroom. I shut the door. “Mary Poppins!” she called through the door. “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! The Sound of Music!” Look, I like a good movie. But not while surrounded by crying babies and mosquitoes and dog poop. At breakfast, she had more ideas—a road trip to see her sister, a family book club, a challenge to see who could walk the most steps. I could be a junior counselor at Brianna’s dance camp (yeah, right) or we could bake cookies and deliver them to all the police and fire stations in the area. Even my dad could tell something was up. “Honey?” he said. “What about a good old-fashioned summer of hanging around the house?” THAT’s what I’m talking about, Dad!! I really just want to sleep in, watch a lot of TV, write in my diary, text with my friends, and maybe volunteer at Fuzzy Friends. (Okay, DEFINITELY volunteer at Fuzzy Friends.) But THEN?! She burst into tears!! “Nikki’s a teenager now!” she wailed. “Before we know it, she’ll be off to COLLEGE!! There aren’t very many summers left!” Whoa. I mean, it’s not like I’m going to DIE when I go off to college. (I hope.) Across from me, Brianna’s eyes were huge. Before she could start crying too, I jumped in. “Mom, hey. It’s okay. Look, I think baking cookies for the firefighters sounds good.” My mom sniffled and looked at me like a sad puppy. “And family movies are great. But I’d rather just do them at home. Unless the outdoor thing is important to you—” “No, no, no,” she said, looking ridiculously happy. “At home movies are great!” “I want to watch Frozen,” Brianna piped up. “We should definitely have ice cream sundaes when we watch Frozen,” my dad pointed out. My mom was starting to look SO much happier. Which was great! But I didn’t want her to think I was going to be Brianna’s junior counselor. That was CRAZY talk!! “I’m not sure about EVERYTHING you’ve suggested,” I said, “but I PROMISE we’ll hang out! Lots! I just also want to hang out with my friends, too. Is that okay?” My mom’s eyes were still watery, but she was smiling. “Of COURSE it’s okay,” she said. “Oh, I’m so excited! I’m going to go print out a list of all the police and fire stations in a thirty mile radius!!” OMG, WHAT did I just get myself into??