Hurry, hurry – summer’s almost over!


Hurry, hurry – summer’s almost over!

I loved the idea of a balanced school calender where kids have eight weeks off in the summer and two weeks each in the spring and fall because it does lead to greater retention academically. That is, I loved it until I had kids.

Today is July 11 and my kids go back to school in just 15 days. Two weeks. And I am in a panic. Despite my best efforts and intentions, we haven’t accomplished nearly what I wanted to this summer.

We have been to the public pool twice, but only once counted. The second time, we were there about 20 minutes when thunderstorms rolled in. My plan is to go Tuesday – if we get 4-H projects completed and turned in on time.

We have not yet been to River Run, the new water park in New Albany. I am penciling that in for Thursday. But we’ve only been to the zoo once and we have a membership, so we need to use it. Maybe I should move River Run to Tuesday …

Sylvia promised her softball team we’d have them over for a cookout and we have yet to set that date. We told the kids when we got their new playset up they could have friends over to play on it. Darin got it constructed, but before he got the pea gravel poured, a July 4th thunderstorm brought down a huge oak limb which demolished half of it.

Speaking of cookouts, we have not roasted hot dogs and marshmallows in our shelter house a single time this year. We did that so much the first two years after we moved. What happened? We haven’t camped out either, but I’m not sorry about that one!

Just writing this is making me feel slightly panicky. I am one of those moms who’s constantly worrying I’m not making childhood enriching and memorable enough for my kids. Exhibit A: I have a closet full of art and craft supplies, but it’s been months – if not more than a year – since we did a project. I don’t even get on Pinterest anymore because I couldn’t deal with all the posts from mothers who turn their bathrooms into pirate ships for their kids’ bath time or who hand-make elaborate birthday party decorations. It was just too much pressure.

Geez. I sound like such a pessimist here. I read a column in LEO this morning while having coffee which made me view things a little differently.

The author is a mom who sounds much like me. She also had a childhood much like mine, one in which she was cared for by her grandmother who did not plan craft days or cut her sandwiches into stars at lunchtime.

What she did – what I did – was play. Just play. While my parents put me into activities such as dance and 4-H, we did not run to something every evening of the week and they did not obsess over my involvement level. What they did was allow us to entertain ourselves.

And we did.

I have vivid memories of packing a lunch pail and my slate and chalk and heading out under a cedar tree, where I had set up a pioneer school. I didn’t just read “Little House on the Prarie,” I recreated it. Over and over again.

My brother, sister and I used to take off for the whole afternoon, down the hill to the creek and the holler. We’d see how far we could walk on the big rocks without getting wet, or we’d stop at the spring branch and spend hours building dams. We just wandered and explored and it didn’t seem my mom worried about us.

We did go on vacations to Florida, but only because I had an aunt in southern Alabama and an uncle in Orlando. The thing is, I don’t in any way feel deprived or that I missed out during my childhood.

My kids were all born within a three-year span. They are close by design. While they fight like cats and dogs, they also play well together because they’re so close in age. Maybe it’s more me than them with the panic over the fleeting summer.

While we haven’t done everything I wanted, we have done a lot this summer (visited Newport Aquarium and the Cincinnati Museum Center, went to the Kentucky Science Center, Holiday World, Spring Mill Park and the Georgetown Drive-In).

When we stopped in to talk to the principal at their school last week, both Sylvia and Hays said they were ready to go back. They enjoy the freedom and late nights of summer, but they also miss seeing their friends every day.

Instead of trying to over-schedule the next two weeks, I’m going to try to chill out and relax, at least a little bit. Maybe just sit on the deck and sip a glass of wine while the kids chase fireflies in the evening or let them get out the hose and go wild spraying each other.

As adults, they might just remember those moments more than the “big” events. Seems I do.


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