By Emily Murray
Summer vacation used to scare the you-know-what out of me. Back in the days when I had toddlers, I quickly got used to the sweet freedom provided by their mornings at pre-school. When May rolled around, the two and a half months of summer vacation loomed like a giant black cloud. I panicked. I signed them up for any and all camps … VBS, gymnastics and dance, golf, swim lessons, etc. etc. And how did we spend our summer? Exactly as we spent the school year, racing from one activity to the next.
Now I know better. Of course, my children are older – 11, 8 and 6 – and much more independent than they were as toddlers. But, they are also much busier during the school year. Between school and homework, sports and activities, we are going, going, going 24/7! Now when May rolls around, we are ready for a change of pace. Ready to embrace the sweet, slow, lazy days of summer. We sleep late (which, of course, does NOT mean the same thing that it did in college or high school), we go from pajamas to bathing suits and back to pajamas again after long days at the pool. We read! and stay up late, and when it cools down to 90 degrees in the evening, we go outside and eat popsicles and jump on the trampoline until the only noise you hear is the endless laughter and the chirping cicadas.
Of course, this happy laziness can only go on for so long. Here we are, a week and a half from the start of school and the enchantment of summer has begun to fade. There are more cries of, ‘I’m bored’, and ‘What are we going to do today?’ … even the pool is no longer a place they want to be. My good friend, who is also at home all summer with her three children, calls and greets me with “Happy Groundhog Day!” – no longer just a day in February, but a reference to the movie where every day is the same with seemingly no end in sight. And then I know. It’s time to return to school and work, sports and activities, and all the craziness of our regular life. But as I grow older, time passes more quickly and I know before long it will be May again. And we will be ready!