So, in our house, it’s officially summer time. Summer for me really doesn’t start until the last day of school, the first time grilling, and the first day I feel like I am dying from heat stroke.
This year, summer is a little different than usual.
Friday was the kids’ last day of school. My son headed to a friend’s for an end of year party, and the little one and I headed to the annual beach party. It was the first time I had gone. I took the time off work, and we headed to the beach. This year, the tone was a probably a bit more somber than in years past. With the redistricting going on in our town, many families from our school were getting pulled out through no fault or desire of their own. Other families I have known for years through school and soccer, like me, had kids leaving for middle school. It was a day and time of transition. It was my first day at a school event as a member of the new ptsa board as well. I was overwhelmed with the amount of parents who came up to wish me well, and to offer their help as the new board transitioned. I was reminding what a great group of parents we have. Of course, I now feel an even deeper sense of responsibility to keep the traditions alive.
Saturday was a family birthday party for my niece. It was a really nice, relaxed atmosphere. It was also, however, a reminder of how fast time flies, and how quickly the kids are all growing up. The years are passing by so quickly, not only with my kids, but with the other kids in the family as well. My nephew, who will be 10 is perilously close to being the same height as me. How is that possible? After her party, I fired up the grill to make one of my favorite dishes, and we as a family had an easy night in.
Father’s day came in, which started out busier than usual. I am dog/house sitting for a neighbor, so I looked after the animals, cooked breakfast (2 lbs of bacon is no match for this family, apparently) and got loads of compliments on a new dish I tried. We then attempted to assemble ourselves and head to an amusement park (yay for season passes!). By the time we got there, it was late in the afternoon, but we had plenty of time to hit the water park for some lazy river relaxation and wave pool laughs. It was relaxing, fun and the kids were thrilled. My husband seemed to relax and enjoy the time. I got talked into going onto the new coaster at the park by my son and husband. I was terrified, and I hear there are videos of my screaming, but it was admittedly a ton of fun. I surmise that those season passes will get used a couple of times as we battle a very hot beginning of the summer.
Again, we are still working on our beginnings of “free range kids”. Time spent outside as much as possible, with breaks for cooling down. My friend around the corner and I take turns texting when the kids are in transit. They roam between the houses and play in the yards. Bike rides, scooter rides, and kids just being kids. I know there are kids who have been doing this for years, but I’m a suburban mom who has been told for YEARS how it’s just not the SAME as it was when I was growing up. I was told that we need to keep the kids inside and not let them out unless we can be right THERE staring at them to keep them safe. Meanwhile, I had kids who couldn’t do basic things like safely cross a street because they had never needed to, because I was always there. Things I knew and did as a kid safely and easy, my kids couldn’t really do because they had never had to do them. I had always been there to do it for them, and if I couldn’t do it, then they just didn’t learn it. I started to have visions of my kids being unable to cross a street at 25, and I knew something had to change.
We are starting off small. It’s hard for this mama to let go a little bit. When I tell people what I am doing, I get “looks”. No camp? No constant supervision at every moment and turn? I get looks like I am mad. How would I manage without someone to constantly monitor them? Well, I say, we’re doing an 80’s summer. A summer where there may be boredom, and you’ll have to think of things to do. A summer of go outside and play with friends and nature. I summer of reading, and playing with toys. A summer of being a kid, but learning new responsibilities. A summer of figuring out your own fun sometimes. Sure I’m nervous, and I keep an eye out the window on them. That being said, I have to teach them to be independent. That’s what a good mother does. Teach them to fly on their own, but be there when they need you should they fall. The hardest part of mommyhood for me is having these two little humans who carry my heart around, and going from doing every single thing for them to teaching them to eventually manage without me. There are always the lasts. The last book you read to them out loud, the last time you bandage a cut before they just grab the first aid kit and do it themselves. All those lasts, that you never know is a last until you suddenly realize they are doing it themselves now.
For now, I am hiding from the heat as best I can, prepping for a hot week. There will be complaints of lack of stuff to do, but at least it should be minimal as they are just glad to be out of school.