Every summer starts the same. For 10 months, you’ve been #hadittogethermom,#nearlylostitmom or #crusheditmom, but on the eve of summer break, you are #optimisticmom. You’ve got 10 weeks.
10 weeks wide open for anything you want.
Take your pick from vacations, picnics, free concerts, outdoor movies, art fairs, camps, reunions, weddings, graduation parties, farmers markets, fruit picking, the beach, splash pads, pools, nature hikes, bbqs, ice cream runs, parks, creative projects, yard sales, sidewalk sales, walks, bike rides, little league, cleaning out the garage, festivals, boating, the zoo, ball games, fun runs, photo shoots and, oh yeah, relaxing!
10 glorious weeks.
Expectations are high for chore charts, argument-free days, enrichment learning, personal goals, finished projects, diet & exercise, time with friends and good weather.
By day 0.3, disillusionment sets in as the first “[sibling name] won’t share” shouting match erupts outside the baby’s/toddler’s/mom’s room. Naptime is officially over. Summer hopes die a quick death. #realitymom is back on the scene.
Just like that, you are in the throes of jury duty in Sibling Court, constant sunscreen applications, coaxing kids out of yesterday’s clothes and driving a camp bus that looks strikingly similar to your minivan.
You find yourself asking questions like “Would Mr./Mrs. [teacher name] put up with this?” and you aren’t sure if your tone is more bazinga or panic.
Bedtimes tiptoe past you, delaying 15 more minutes with each new night. But, this is our first/last/third night of vacation. But, there are fireworks. But, friends are over. But, we didn’t get ice cream, yet! But, they are (finally) playing nicely together. But, wouldn’t it be fun to do a flashlight walk around the neighborhood? But, it’s so peaceful to listen to the rain together! But, the Olympics are on. But, they’ve still got three more days to adjust back to school schedules. Every night beckons to consume bedtime.
In summer, the world comes out to recruit the next big thing – your child. The next volleyball champion. The next dance sensation. The next coding expert. The next Broadway star. The next scientific genius. The next Olympic hopeful. If they can dream it, there is a week long niche camp to launch them into their fame and fortune future. And if these seem too practical, you can always find a daycare or gymnastics studio hosting a princess or ninja camp. You know, for your child’s future as a princess or ninja.
If you puzzle it right, you can drop your kids off at sports/nature/dance/art/acting/twirling/climbing/music/pottery/piano/dojo camp, lunch them on the way to swimming lessons, get them to the library for lego/robotics/minecraft/photoshop/comic/circuitry camp in the afternoon, hit up a park or parking lot for whatever company/church/store is giving out hot dogs in exchange for recycling their advertisements (in summer, hot dogs count for dinner, all by themselves!) and make it just in time for drop-off at a nighttime VBS (followed by the aforementioned delayed bedtime). 5 days a week. 10 weeks of summer. You’ll finish with well-rounded kiddos, mileage on your bus…van, and 15 tie-dyed t-shirts to re-color the rest of your laundry. It’ll be a summer to remember!
If you somehow still have those 10 glorious weeks after the parade of recruitment…(oh, and, yes, the parades! Every week of summer calls for a different parade!), your kids might have time to complete their bridge work. What is bridge work, you ask? It’s the remedy to the “summer slide,” of course! That phenomenon where in 10 weeks of summer, your kids forget everything they learned in the 943 hours of the past school year. Bridge work spans the gap, so they roll into their new grade unscathed.
If you find a proven way to get your kids to do bridge work or pick up a book during the summer, send me your Kickstarter link. Otherwise, I’m banking on a week long August power-outage (hey, it nearly happened in ’03; anything is possible!). Then, the only option my kids will have is to read. That should give them ample time to conquer the library summer reading challenge and bridge work it like a boss.
Oh, summer. It’s a bowl of (hand-picked) cherries. Complete with sidewalk chalk, slip ‘n slides, porches, fireflies, s’mores, bare feet, bug spray, farmer’s tans, band-aids and ice cream trucks.
What can I say? It’s the stuff memories are made of.
Even if it is a slight departure from #optimisticmom’s (swan) song.
(⇓ Click the play button to listen and catch lyrics below.)
(⇑ Click the play button to listen and catch lyrics below.)