Summer and I have a complicated relationship. The school year comes with its own challenges – schedules, events, activities. Bedtime must be set in stone or you pay for it the following morning. Rising early become the norm and I learn how to be incredibly efficient at the whole getting ready routine – packing lunches, getting dressed, braiding hair, eating breakfast – all at an hour before the sun even makes his appearance. The school days fly by and each one comes with homework and a much needed outside time. Dinner needs to be cooked early, cleaned up quickly, and bath time rarely involves play.
But summer. Oh, summer. There goes the packing lunches, the homework, and the quick dinners. Bring on the all-day play time, the “sleeping-in” until 7, the hair held back by a headband. If we want to dump out half the books on the bookshelf and sift through them until we find our favorites, we can. If we want to turn on the sprinklers in the backyard, run through them, and have a Cheez-It picnic, we can. And if we want to stay up extra late because we have friends over, or the Tinkerbell movie is on, we can. With our fingers crossed that it means an extra hour of sleep in the morning. We’ve traded our school uniforms for pink dresses, our schedules for flexibility, and our structure for lots of time in our neighbor’s pool.
You can see why my girls love the summer.
But I, as a mom, have been a little skittish of summer. I see its flexibility and its long, sunny days as time that I, as the cruise director of this family, have to fill. Play dates need to be organized, summer camps need to be figured out, vacations should be planned. New painting and coloring books should be purchased for afternoons when the sun is too hot or the rain is too much. Trips to Target have become an adventure that I’ve started to count as our “morning activity”. I’ve hit splash pads and swimming pools, parks and the mall, Chick-Fil-A and McDonald’s. We’ve gone to Grandma’s house, our cousin’s house, our friends’ houses. And before I knew it, it was time to turn the calendar to August. And believe it or not, I felt sad. I’d just gotten used to this – the slower mornings, the freedom to change plans at a moment’s notice, the sweet snuggle time in the afternoons – and now I’m going to be running around again. Backpacks are purchased, new tennis shoes are waiting to be worn, but I’m not ready for all that just quite yet.
A collage of some of our summer –
So summer and I are on the up and up. By next year, I think we’ll even be good friends. Who knows? Maybe I can find a day camp that all THREE girls can attend. 😉