Remember back when you were a kid, counting down the days until school let out? I do. I also remember how only a few weeks without school would pass, before I was clamouring for a return, bored out of my mind and startled by the dichotomy between summer’s haze and school’s frenzy.
It occurs to me that it’s not very different, being the parent to the child who has just finished school. I couldn’t wait for it to end – the go-go-go, get out the door on time, do you have that permission slip? and where’s your lunch bag? But now that school’s done… I miss it.
I yearn for that constancy, for crafts to be created by certified professionals with my daughter, for her to get to see every single one of her friends at least twice a week.
Now, it’s all on me, Mom. I’m the crafter. I’m the person who should be arranging play-dates even though, quite frankly, I don’t know those kids or their parents. I’m the entertainment, but I don’t get a summer vacation from work, so I’ve found steam coming from my ears on more than one occasion.
I had to think: how do I balance the demands of (what should be) a spectacular summer, with work, responsibilities around the home, my dwindling energy and motivation levels, and her seemingly amped-up enthusiasm?
I came up empty, but it forced me to think of what a truly awesome summer would look like – to both of us. From that picture, I decided that this summer requires me to multitask, be a little selfish, and to hand over some responsibility. Here’s my summertime plans-in-motion:
- I’ve started teaching her how to use a knife. So, while I stand beside her, she can chop up everything for a delicious fruit salad.
- Perks to visiting the beach are that there is a billion things to examine, and any kind of receptacle can transform into a building tool. Add in a spoon or shovel, and she’s got a moat. While she’s happily compacting sand, I can read a book, or work on paper.
- One word: picnic. Highly entertaining, and highly unusual in comparison to daily life.
- Movies at the park. If you don’t have them near you, could you host it in your backyard? When dusk falls, a free movie is projected for everyone to watch, on blankets with snacks. And if you’re lucky like I am, wifi.
- Staring at the clock. Because I’m sane enough to realize that nothing will be spectacular if she deviates much from her normal sleeping and eating routines.
- We’ve both signed up for reading clubs. Passing a lazy evening reading to each other is pretty spectacular, I think. Especially if it’s on the beach, with a picnic while you wait for the movie to start.