Good Riddance

Nobody will make a reality show about our family's past two months, which can be summed up with the conspiratorial code name "summer vacation," but they are worthy of one.

Dan Meno, Moshe Dan and Na'ama Kasri, who star in the Israeli version of "Survivor" have nothing on us. Eating reptiles, swimming with torches, carrying heavy loads? Please, don't make us laugh. Nobody will make a reality show about our family's past two months, which can be summed up with the conspiratorial code name "summer vacation," but they are worthy of one.

What did this summer include? Two children hungry for amusement, a stay at an Eilat hotel, great familiarity with every shopping mall, the regular entertainment of friends aged 4 to 8 at any hour of the day or night, uninspiring cartoons, the obsessive pushing of the DVD's "play" button, every type of summer camp, addiction to the HOP television channel, arrival at work with the little ones, the adoption of another household pet, the pedaling on our bicycles in the furnace of July and August, two weeks without Grandma and Grandpa (who fled to foreign climes), predictably hopeless visits to museums, trips to weird petting zoos, the evasion of a blood donation with the honest excuse that the volunteers had not eaten - "sorry, I don't have a single drop left" - and an ocean of complaints. Buy me, make me, take me, bring me. Why does he have that and I don't? I want, I want, I want. Enough!

I hope that you'll have a nice day today in third grade and in kindergarten, but I don't really care. Now it's your turn to suffer. For two months, we were at your beck and call, Mom and I. We bit our pillows, we wept at night, we tried to make believe everything was fine, that we were enjoying ourselves, that it was rare quality time, that you are flesh-and-blood angels. No more.

It was hell. There's no point in flattery, there's no need for a pretense of sanctity. The various television channels will probably find a parent or two from a hilltop community in the north or south of the country who will us tell how hard it is for them to part from their children, how eagerly they are awaiting the next summer vacation. But believe me, they are aliens.

Now the time has come for revenge. You'll go to sleep at 8 P.M., get up at 7 A.M,, read books, do homework, attend after-school activities, fantasize about the weekend, eat nutritious food, make do with one friend, get weaned off slumber parties, get out of Mom and Dad's hair. For two months, you emptied all our reservoirs, which were not full in any case. You sent us to work red-eyed, you left us with existential questions, you endangered the possibility of enlarging the family and you made us look like serial complainers.

But make no mistake, we have nothing against you. You, just like us, are victims in this story. Those who are truly to blame are the people who decided on a 62-day vacation. We have often pondered the possibility that these are childless people, but the truth is that we didn't have the courage to find out. The price of the mistake is too high, and will require us to conduct a self-examination that we cannot deal with at this stage. We aren't strong enough yet.

My military service, as well as Mom's, ended without a traditional end-of-service T-shirt adorned with inscriptions recalling the combat experience and maturation of a 21-year-old. But the past 62 days - yes, I admit, I counted every day - have given rise to quite a number of possibilities: "We survived Summer '08," "Mom and Dad say 'Enough,'" "Free the parents," or "The redeeming bell." With love. In spite of everything.