On the evolution of summer and letting go of busy

I have to admit, the first couple weeks of Summer was rough.

The kids were thrilled to be on “summer vacation” and were acting a little crazy.

For us parents, there’s still work, schedules, and daily routines that keep everything running (somewhat) smoothly.

We butted heads on pleas to stay up later, the kiddos kicked their sibling rivalry into high gear, and I just wasn’t feeling the summer mojo.

Then…there was that day. A lazy Saturday. It was hot, the kids were bored, so we sent them outside. Soon, they were laughing and squirting each other with the hose. And just like that Summer began.

Kids have a way of forcing us to slow down and just an enjoy a moment. The sun, the heat, the water. On that day, it was a perfect combination of warmth, playfulness, and just being together. We even pushed bedtime back and enjoyed an evening of making s’mores by the fire.

And so began the evolution of our summer.

From then on, words spoken by my brother and sister-in-law ring true in my head…”we only have so many summers left.” I suddenly know exactly what they mean. Once our kids start school, summer is such an important time. It’s the only time we’re free from such rigid schedules, activities, and around the clock homework.

And it won’t last forever. Too soon, they’ll be off to college and there’s more than a high possibility that summers spent with us won’t be high on their list of priorities. (I know I cannot even fathom that either.)

Summer is now the only time we have to be idle, to spontaneously head for the beach on a too hot weekend, stay up late and make smores by the fire, and of course…take family vacations.

So we did. And it was fabulous.

Sure we spent too much time negotiating over whose turn it was to push the elevator buttons (seriously, every.single.time) and I felt like a human personal flotation device for Little Sister. On more than one occasion the hubs and I may or may not have wondered if there was some kind of kids club (aka daycare) on the premises so we could enjoy a nice dinner out or simply sit poolside, drink in hand without the added worry that one of the kids could drown.

Honestly, keeping kids safe on vacation can be downright exhausting.

Still, it was our Summer vacation. The Summer of 2012. One we would not get to do-over. The sand and ocean were our playground and soon I started to bask in our 24/7 togetherness.

Finally, I could feel our summer evolving into late nights, root beer floats, BBQ with friends, swimming, and spontaneous weekend getaways.

Yes, there’s still work and schedules to abide by, but it feels nice to let go a little and sink into the lazy days of summer.

After reading The Busy Trap last night, it hit me even harder…we all need to let Summer take over and just be.

Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets.

Okay, I can believe that.

I’m the first to admit, that the school days are over scheduled, rushed, and jam packed with extra curricular activities. I try to reign it all in…but I’m guilty of this busy trap. So guilty.

So, this is Summer. I won’t steal it from my kids. I won’t steal it from myself.

There’s time, magic, and hope in the heat Summer.

The rigid schedules, strict bedtimes, and “we don’t have time for that” can wait.

Big Brother and Little Sister have big summer plans…the library, our local pool, spontaneous play dates, and a lemonade stand to name a few.

Who am I to stand in their way?

Childhood summers, though finite, should feel like they last forever.


Do you have a hard time slowing down for summer? How’s your summer evolving?

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3 Responses to On the evolution of summer and letting go of busy
  1. Mothering From Scratch
    July 9, 2012 | 5:19 pm

    {Kathy} My first child is leaving for college in August, and I was reflecting on this “last Summer” of his. You are right. They do, sort of, end.
    I think we are going to be fighting for our time with him from now on. He is very independent, for that I am grateful. So, I am trying to savor these other Summers with my three kids still here. He won’t be gone, but full family Summers may be of the past. I am thankful every time we even get to eat dinner as a “whole” family of 6. Whole family vacations? I barely want to sleep to soak them all in, too.

  2. Jessica
    July 11, 2012 | 3:47 pm

    I so get this Melissa. I started off summer rushing the kids around trying to keep them busy with “summer” activities and now we have fallen into a nice, summer routine that is led by what they want to do (including arguments over elevator button pushing, why? why? why?).

  3. Stefanie
    July 17, 2012 | 12:48 pm

    I love this post! We have really been focusing on having fun this summer, and letting go of the strict routines!