When I “graduated” from kindergarten, I thought summer vacation lasted a year.
At least, it felt like it. Two days after school let out, I had gathered all the notebooks and pencils in the house and set up school in our family room with my chalkboard. If I had a year off, I reasoned, I might as well teach my baby dolls all the things I’d learned from my beloved Mrs. Coon.
All too soon I realized summer vacation is measured in weeks, not years. Now that I have children, summer vacation is measured in days here and there. It is very rare to have an entire week of nothing. Summer might still be hazy and crazy at times, as the song says, but it is certainly no longer lazy. And that’s really a shame.
Karate, extended summer ballet, a wedding and the annual visit to my New York state hometown took big bites out of our summer vacation. We have never taken our children out of school for vacations– and never will– so any trips are scheduled around the school calendar or during the summer. We managed to take a few day trips here and there around Ohio in between a fairly regimented summer schedule that seemed to start before school even ended.
Busy bees in the summer
On the last day of school, my youngest got her school supply list for the upcoming year – a paper reminder that the clock is ticking. My oldest had her date set for freshman orientation at the high school months ago. And I’d already noted several important dates on my calendar for this school year.
By mutual decision, we didn’t forsake school this summer. My children played their instruments here and there. My youngest did 20 minute math refresher courses weekly with the School of Mom. And my oldest flipped through her algebra binder a few times in anticipation of Algebra II.
Never fear, we had lazy fun. My kids were regulars at the pool. “The Fault In Our Stars” was read, re-read and seen in the theaters several times. And they burned up Verizon’s network texting about when to meet where. I was perfectly fine having a summer of a lot of nothing. Too soon there will be summer jobs, summer classes and touring colleges.
Perhaps the one regret I have about our summer is that it wasn’t lazy enough. I’m a firm believer in the gift of boredom. Boredom gives our brains room to think, and allows creativity to come to the surface. When my children were younger, sometimes they’d come and tell me they were bored. Like the mean mom I am, I told them to find something to do. I rarely helped them find this magical boredom buster. Besides, they came up with better things than I could ever suggest.
So now in the waning days of summer vacation, we are busy with back to school lists, orientations and organizing our calendars. To everything there is a season, and this is the season of school. In 180 days– give or take a snowstorm or two– we will be back to the hazy and crazy days of summer.
Let’s hope at least a few of them are lazy, too.