Am I the only Mom who greets school’s closing bell with a mixture of happy expectation and utter panic?
At the end of the school year we’re so busy with graduations and spring concerts and field days and field trips and saying good-bye to the saint-like people who teach our children, that we (or should I say I) forget to plan for summer.
And that’s how it is that this morning when I rolled out of bed I was met by two eager sets of eyes wanting to know, “Now what?” And despite the fact that I gave birth to these small people and have seen them around the house a fair amount in the past 8 years, I couldn’t help but wonder what I was supposed to do with them.
Maybe my memory is a little fuzzy on this matter, but I seem to recall my mother sending me out the front door on summer mornings with the expectation I would return when I got hungry. In the morning after “chores” that is. That’s right, I used to haul water from the pump, beat the straw mattresses and milk the cows first thing every morning before going out to play on the prairie. Ok, so I’m not that old, but my brother and I did our fair share of painting fence posts, pulling weeds and picking tomato bugs from the plants in the garden. After our task for the day was done we’d wander around the hills behind our house or go swimming the rest of the day.
Not so today.
Today there is an offering of summer activities for children that boggles the mind. Horse camp, gymnastics camp, theatre camp, dance camp, bike camp, science camp, writing camp, judo camp, baton twirling camp, cooking camp, art camp, soccer camp, tennis camp, outdoor adventure camp (aka camping camp) and on and on. And that’s just the beginning of the sort of general type camps. Kids on summer break can learn to breed chickens, form a rock band or survive overnight in the woods on the mushrooms they find under rocks.
I’ll admit, I was daunted when the 2-inch thick summer activities packet came home from school a month or so ago. Scared enough to push it aside on my desk until now, when I fear it may be too late. “Come on honey, you’ve always wanted to learn about the secret lives of subterranean insects, haven’t you?” I’ll soon be asking my 6 year-old.
I know full-time working parents don’t have the option of putting off a plan for summer for their kids, like us part-time folks do. And to be honest, as a teacher my summer work load is blissfully light. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be sending my 6 and 8-year-old daughters off for at least a couple of weeks this summer.
It’s great for children to have free time to let their imaginations go. Already my girls have built a cart from spare wood they found in the garage (if you need a two-wheeled, four-colored cart made with six different shapes of wood, let me know and you can come by anytime to pick it up), started setting up an art gallery in the playhouse and released 3,000 ladybugs into the backyard.
But, it’s not all about the kids. In the midst of making memories and enjoying getting to know our children again, parents need a little time to think, have a solitary cup of coffee and let our own imaginations create. So, with that in mind I’m taking a closer look at the camp offerings this summer. I’m thinking maybe “Fence Post Painting for Beginners.”