It’s hard to believe that the Fourth of July is here. More importantly, it’s hard to believe that the summer is well underway, and I haven’t done as much as I wanted with my kids.
Let me rewind for a minute.
When we approached the end of school, I sat with both of them, catalogs of camps spread out before us. They lazily looked at each and really showed no interest. That’s basically when I made the decision to make a shift, for this summer.
Instead of doing multiple camps, typically one week a month over the summer, they would do one camp each in August. For my son, it will be a Boy Scouts camp, my daughter a horseback riding camp. The rest of the summer we were going a little rogue, and I was hoping for the best.
Looking back at my childhood, I didn’t have camp after camp. I was lazy and hung out with friends and have memories of weaving through fireflies playing tag on hot summer nights. I read books, wrote stories and drew pictures. I dreamed of faraway lands and created fantasy games with my friends. This is what I wanted for my children–a time when they could breathe a little and use their imaginations. A time where they, and I, weren’t feeling the day-to-day pressures of scheduled and scripted time.
This is what I wanted for them, but now I realize it isn’t that easy.
Today’s world is different from the one I grew up in. Many of their friends are in camps which leaves them mostly to each other. For short periods of time, this is fine, but for extended periods of time it is not a good mix. And in truth, I have been slammed with work unable to plan and orchestrate different activities for them.
Something had to change.
So yesterday, while sitting in an empty house with me waiting on a service technician to inspect the HVAC, my children and I brainstormed things that we wanted to do over what remained of the summer. Living outside of Washington, D.C., there is almost too much to choose from, but this is what we came up with:
Looking at the calendar, I realized that this is a pretty ambitious list, which if we became crazed to do everything, could defeat the purpose of our unstructured summer. Thinking about it, I’ve decided that the better way to go is to plan at least one outing per week. If we want to do more, great, but at a minimum we will do one structured outing. The rest of the time I hope they are able to have some good old summer fun by playing with friends or maybe just laying in the grass, looking up at the sky and daydreaming.