Teen has a job, summer assignments, and a volunteer project. The Kid has theatre/music classes from 8:00a.m. to 2:00p.m. and then has rehearsals for Fame every weeknight. I'm working part time on an irregular schedule and trying to clear out the playroom which has long since stopped being a room for playing.
For years summer was all about playing. With long free days, the girls would create elaborate games with stuffed animals, dress-up clothes, or Barbies. They rarely stopped, only agreeing to "pause the game" while we did necessary chores. To keep things fresh, I also interrupted their play with the variety of free or cheap offerings around us including library programs, park activities, and morning movies at the discount theater. Even a trip to the grocery store often included a stop at Petco to look at the fish or an ice cream cone at McDonald's. There was always the pools and playgrounds for daily fun, and beach trips to anticipate. Putting on the sprinkler in the morning meant the swimsuits went on too, as did a drenching rainstorm.
Now that I have teenagers, the only thing that makes it Summer is not being locked into the pace of the school year. The girls are finally released from early wake-ups, long days, and hours of homework. And that's about it. They have no need to go to the pool, and if they do it's with friends. Movies are nighttime events - again with friends - and parks pretty places we drive by on the way to the mall. Going to beach is hard to coordinate with everyone's separate schedules. The girls get along great, but video games and TV shows have replaced their hours of playing together, naturally.
Looking back, my life with young kids sounds exhausting. But even if I had little time for myself, keeping the kids entertained allowed me to live through summer as a kid again and again because I also got to swim in the pool, watch the movies, and play on the beach. Summer was special then, and I miss that.
But to give a bright side, let me give a shout-out to air conditioning. Glorious cool air that you don't have to leave to play in a hot park while your child has a tantrum. So there's that. Happy summer, people.
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