It's day one of summer for my little sidekicks. These are my favorite people to explore with, so it's on this day that I awake bright and chipper, vowing to keep summer carefree, yet productive.
Visions of flashcards and tire swings claim contradicting space in my head as I quietly make plans to clean out the laundry room and visit the aquarium and the planetarium -- again and again. Oh wait, did my membership expire?
We'll play and run barefoot in the grass, and swim and read so many books. Maybe I should make one of those reading reward charts, or join the library's junior book club?
Yes! Because this summer, I'm going teach one to read, potty train another and work on algebra with the oldest.
But the memories. Oh, are we going to make memories. We'll camp out in the backyard and build a treehouse. Yes, let's get the plans and really study them together. I wonder if there's an engineering camp I could sign them up for?
Hold on. Unstructured, no schedules! We'll hike as long as discoveries keep presenting themselves. We'll throw stones into a creek and invent stories of where those stones go on their float. We can document their stories in homemade journals.
If we miss naps or stay up late, it's no big deal. Ah-ha... we'll go to a drive-in movie and watch a meteor shower!
But we won't be so tired that we eat junk food. Nope. It will all be fresh, homemade fare made from fruits and vegetables from a farmers market this summer. I need to get one of those market baskets, they're so cute. Add it to the list, right below water bottles. We're drinking lots and lots of water this summer. Healthy, hydrated skin. Add a visor and sunscreen to the list too. Scratch that, there's no list in summer.
And we'll picnic! In fact, I'll carry a blanket with me so we can stop to picnic anytime we want. We'll lay on the ground and make pictures out of the clouds in the sky. I'll be due for a rest because I'm going to rise early every morning and jog as the sun comes up.
Or, I could take them to the gym childcare center while I exercise. But we'll swim together after! And they'll jump off the diving board and play Marco Polo in the water.
We'll invite those friends over for a play date and these friends over for a BBQ. I've been meaning to do so. But not too much socializing. We'll be so connected as a family that their bond as siblings will strengthen and the seeds of family lore will be planted.
We'll take bike rides. All of us, as a family! We'll shoot basketball hoops and play H-O-R-S-E. Maybe they should join that basketball league at the park?
We'll catch up on dentist appointments and ride roller coasters. Maybe fly a kite, plant a garden, go to a children's theatre or learn to play tennis. Catch lightning bugs and have a lemonade stand.
Poison ivy, humidity, video games and mosquito bites do not exist in my summer visions. Just glorious, long, lazy days! But then why am I already feeling panicky about how fast it's going? It's only day one, and I worry, will we fit it all in? Will they fall behind their classmates and teammates when the reality of September hits?
But for now, we have June, July and August. And for the next few months, they are mine again. Together, we'll do it all. And we'll do nothing. I feel both the privilege and responsibility of making these times rich with significance, knowledge and history. Summer is special... I must make it so.
But the truth is that summer is special just by being summer. Special can't be orchestrated or planned. Special just is. I can take the pressure off myself and enjoy it, whatever shape and form summer takes. Camps, no camps, teams, trips or hikes. As the thoughts and plans for summer swirl in my head and bump into each other causing indecision and confusion, I make myself another promise: focus on today. And for today, day one, we went to a Children's Museum, created a fairy garden and cleaned out the car... and tomorrow might be the grocery store and a nap. Either way, summer is already off to a pretty special start.