Well here we are. The summer vacation from school is over. As an educator, this time of year is especially painful since it means that I too have to go back to school. Let me tell you, it gets harder every year. This year, in fact, I have parts of me that physically hurt at the thought of going back to our regularly scheduled program. However, since I haven’t won the lottery (and since I have absolutely no desire to home school my children), we have spent the last week or so buying all of the things and running all of the errands and stressing about all of the stress. I think we are as ready as we’ll ever be so, fine, bring it on.
I’ve also spent some time this last week cleaning out my phone’s camera and shuffling all of the pictures I took this summer into an album on Facebook. I love going through my pictures and I always grow sentimental as I think about all of the wonderful things we did as a family during the long, lovely summer months. We took a trip to Disney, we spent a glorious week on the beach in Cape Cod, we visited museums, parks, playgrounds, zoos and the library, we spent hours in my parents’ pool, and we spent some quality time with friends and family outdoors enjoying the beautiful weather.
My summer memories stirred up some thoughts, however, about what we DIDN’T do this summer.
We didn’t wake up or go to sleep at any scheduled time. We let our bodies get the sleep they needed and we used our excess energy to soak up every minute we could of the long summer days.
We didn’t eat regularly scheduled meals. We ate when we were hungry and we often took some extra time to prepare new recipes or healthier options. Dinner especially is usually a rushed, unimaginative affair around here so it was nice to take some time to actually enjoy the meal prep and the meal rather than treat dinner as one more thing to do (and squeeze in among practices, homework, and showers) before finally crashing into sleep.
We didn’t have much we had to do. My May calendar is terrifying to glance at. Every day was filled with various commitments for each of my three kids and myself. There wasn’t one day in May that didn’t have something written on it. July and August calendars, however, listed a few scattered doctor appointments and a notation reminding us of the day we left for Cape Cod. There was a birthday party on one particular Saturday and a bridal shower on another. That’s it. I don’t yet have the mental stamina to even think about flipping the page to September to start the arduous process of filling in soccer games and practices, dance classes, music lessons, and school commitments. These last two lazy months have been simply glorious.
We didn’t rush…anywhere. We were never late for anything and I never shouted, “HURRY UP!!!” to anyone. We even took our time grocery shopping since it was really the only thing we had to do that day. Long lines? Who cares?! Traffic? No big deal! We had no where to be and nothing else to do. During the school year my motto is, “Well, we tried to be on time” and I am usually stressed out by 7:25 each morning since I’m almost always running five minutes late for work and silently screaming “I swear if I hit ONE MORE RED LIGHT…..!!!!!” to myself every single day.
We didn’t finish everything on our summer “bucket” lists. We didn’t get to everything and no one really cares. There were some days when tackling one of those items just seemed like too much. “Can we just go to the pool?” Sure. “Can we just stay cool in the AC and put a movie on instead?” Yep. One day I read an entire book instead of tackling that overflowing closet I said I’d clean out. Another day I spent most of the afternoon floating on a tube in my mother’s pool talking to her about nothing while time slipped away until evening. All of those tasks and activities we had on our lists will get done eventually. We knew, however, that our lazy summer days were precious.
Another summer is coming to a close and I have to say that this summer was one of our best. I think my girls and I took advantage of all summer had to offer, having fun while taking it easy all at the same time. I’m especially happy, however, about all of the things we DIDN’T do. Are we ready to DO those things again? I guess so. But we’ll be counting the days until we can take those things off of our “To Do” lists again.