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Summertime, and the livin’ is (well, should be) easy

May 28, 2014

photo (20)School gets out this week. By Friday, I’ll have a 3rd grade girl, and a boy in 5th. If I think about fifth grade too much, my chest tightens a bit, and I might cry. I’ll deal with that when it’s really time. For now, it’s summer.
I love summer. The heat doesn’t bother me. It needs to be cold where I sleep, but the extreme humidity is welcomed after winter. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Y’all can complain. I never will.
I’m looking forward to lazy days with my kids. Because The Boy is 10, I know he might not want me around for a whole lot longer. I plan on secretly smothering him this summer. He won’t really know it’s happening, but I’m soaking it all in.
In the meantime, let’s get real. I love my kids, and I’m so glad and thankful and blessed and blah blah blah, BUT, they will be home every day. Every. Day. Right around this time each year, I’m in limbo between planning enough activities for them and making sure we have more than enough downtime. The beauty of summer is the lack of schedule, right?
Several of my friends went to camp all summer long. If my kids asked, I’m sure I’d oblige, but fortunately they haven’t. They expressed interest in going to a two-week sleepaway camp, but it never materialized. I always wanted to go to such a camp. It seemed so cool in Parent Trap and Poison Ivy (the Michael J. Fox one), what with having a cabin and a counselor and camp food. My parents never suggested it.
Maybe we were unusual. We did swim team for the first six weeks or so, but besides a trip or two to the beach, we didn’t make plans. Summers consisted of wandering the neighborhood with friends, with nothing to do but get out of the pool during adult swim and wait for the ice cream man. This is mostly what our summer looks like now, too.
I feel a bit of pressure to sign The Kids up for things. It’s almost as if they’ll fall behind, compared to their friends, if they take the summer off. I’m not caving, though. Mine love having a day to do nothing. And by “nothing,” I mean The Girl builds Fairy houses out of found objects and The Boy reads Harry Potter or hits golf balls in the backyard. That’s my kind of day. If you ask me, which, per usual, you did not, that’s how kids should spend summer days.
We have a couple of trips planned already, which will take up about 2.5 weeks of what feels like an already too short summer. They go back on August 11th. It will be here before it’s time to reapply sunscreen. There will be days when they drive me crazy and we separate to watch different movies, but at least we won’t have to eat dinner in the car or rush from here to there.
I want to let them relax but keep them just busy enough not to bicker all day. I want our biggest decision to be whether we go to the pool or not. I want to teach The Girl to water ski and watch The Boy kayak until his arms give out. I want to grill supper as often as possible. I want to enjoy them while they still enjoy me. That time is fleeting. I’m not saying they’ll hate me next year, but I’m not taking any chances. It’s a short temporary season. Don’t let the heat get you down. Wear bug spray. If you feel an “it’s too hot” complain coming on, find a sprinkler or cold beer. It ain’t that bad. It’s summer. Cheer’s y’all!

*originally published in the Metro Spirit, Augusta, GA on 5/22/14

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