For the past week I have been hearing and overhearing grownups talk about the looming loss of freedom that annually accompanies the end of the school year.
I feel that a bit, although it’s kinda sad since when we were young the last day of school was pure joy.
Because my little family doesn’t do after-school care, we were not able to get into any summer day care programs so the summer will be a coordinated effort to find interesting things to do, kids to play with and anything that avoids Son waking up in August realizing he spent the whole summer watching his old mom work. Snore. Oh yeah cause mom doesn’t get summer break… the news still has to go out on time.
But on the flip side, we have been counting down sleeps to the last day of school—I think since around 65-to-go. I have enjoyed the countdown and still feel a little of that anticipation that Son feels knowing for the next 12 weeks there doesn’t have to be an alarm clock. We can have hamburgers for breakfast or waffles for dinner. And swimming. Lots of swimming.
I remember endless summer days in my school years, with nothing mandatory other than the chores my mom assigned so we wouldn’t be complete layabouts. Riding bikes around the neighborhood in ever-widening circles as we got older. Just come home when the streetlights come on.
Lazy mornings were standard. Wake up whenever you feel like it, the 9-11am lineup; I Love Lucy, My Three Sons, Family Affair, Andy Griffith. Then The Price is Right to end the day because at noon it was nothing but news and soap operas for four hours. Snore.
Everyone knew everyone in the neighborhood, so random packs of kids and teenagers could play at whatever seemed like fun in the moment. Evenings were baseball and softball games that were just plain fun. There was no year-round club play or select travel teams to stress us out; just summer time, friends and playtime on the ball fields.
I’m sure in reality it wasn’t always a series of Norman Rockwell days that seem to dominate my memory, but I still feel compelled to find a way to make summer fun this year.
Back in the present, I have decided this will be The Summer of Son and Mom. I am going to do something completely out of character and actually make a schedule for us that includes picnics, parks and field-trip Thursdays. I may even actually plan outings ahead of time so I don’t wake up every morning and waste half the day trying to think of something to do.
I figure maybe at age 7, this might be the last time we get to do this. He’s not going off to college any time soon, but next year is a big foggy blob in the future that might mean a different job, different school or a great YMCA group that he can’t live without. Or he may realize that staying home with mom is the worst way to spend a summer and he’ll soon be too cool for me.
Still, since I haven’t had a *summer* since he was born, and now he’s old enough to go to water parks and trampoline parks and amusement parks—things grownups enjoy!—it will be a good excuse to have a summer for myself too.
I remember the first year out of college. Realizing that for the next 50 years there would be no three weeks at Christmas and two months of summer. Just two weeks of PTO annually. Snore. It seemed like an awful prospect at the time.
So attitude adjusted and instead of fretting over 12 weeks of child care, I am excited about turning my days a little upside-down to be a child of summer again and work the midnight hours. He still has to sleep after all.
People say all the time to just be grateful for what you have so I thought I’d go crazy and give it a try. I have the opportunity to spend 12 weeks playing and swimming and only doing the chores that keep me from being completely lazy. Not such a bad turn of fortune.