Schools out???? by Deb Eve

img_2568Huh? Really? School’s out? My kids too? Summer always creeps on me – and it’s no wonder. Keep in mind that I live in New England and we’re still having frosts at night, so you can see how I might not know we’re anywhere near summer. But thank goodness they send all those notices home from school. Not that I read them. But they do start to pile up on the counters and eventually – just before they are likely to catch fire – I haul the whole pile to the dump and then on the way home I might notice one of my kids looking kind of listless and I’ll ask “What’d they serve for lunch today at school?” and he (or she, as this scene could be (okay, has been) played out with both of my kids) will say, “Mom, school’s been out for like a week now!”

Which begs the question, just what have those kids been doing every day for the last week? And only then do I realize the sad, ugly truth – we’ve all slept through the first week of summer vacation once again! But you know what they say about the family that loafs around all summer. They get the worm … or maybe they don’t get worms.

Frankly, I think the summer is for just that … loafing off and doing a whole lot of nothing. And since it’s summer, it’s perfectly fine to sleep in before you get up for your big day of loafing. Luckily, I have a teenage daughter who is a master loafer and can be perfectly content doing nothing for an entire summer (an entire year if we let her … but then, really, what kind of career options would she have? Although, she does show some natural talent for writing . . . ). We were actually worried about her doing so much nothing and began sending her to sleep-away camp a few years ago. We chose a Unitarian Universalist (or as my daughter calls it – “hippie-dippy” – camp that’s not too far from where we live) and she LOVES it.

So what did you do at camp? I asked her when she got home after three weeks. “Nothing.” Now, how perfect is that??? Turns out, pretty much every activity at this camp is optional except evening chapel (What do you talk about at chapel, dear? Nothing.) When she went the second year, I told her she at least had to make me one thing just to prove she’d at least gone to Arts & Crafts (and NO, those tattoos you came home with last summer, don’t count!) So she came home with a button that said “MOM” (or alternately, “WOW” if turned upside down. I was impressed.) This year, I won’t even expect that much when she returns. But at least I know she gets a three-week break from her cell phone, computer, ipod and the television. She’ll be in the woods with her friends … doing nothing. Isn’t that what summer is about?

Our son is more active. And most summers we’ve tried to keep him occupied with day camps, basketball camp and summer tournament baseball. This year, he too, will be going to sleep-away camp – for the first time. (Yes, I knew better than to try the hippie-dippy camp on him.) He’ll be with a passel of boys at a YMCA camp on a lake in Vermont for a week. (I’m imagining a sort of Lord of the Flies thing going on. I’m not worried, though. It’s only a week. I’m sure he’ll be home before anyone starts walking around with a head on a stick.) My hope is that they’ll keep him so busy that he’ll be ready for a little doing nothing time when he gets home.

Me? I’ll be puttering in my garden (in between chauffeuring my son to basketball camps and baseball games), taking the kids to swim in the river (just as soon as the ice breaks, probably around the 4th of July) and trying to work on Book 2. Oh, and spending as much time as I can in the screen porch, sipping iced tea in the shade (during the day) and cocktails by the twinkling lights of the fireflies (at night). And trying NOT to do a whole lot more. After all, isn’t that what summer is for?

~Deb Eve

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8 thoughts on “Schools out???? by Deb Eve

  1. Ahhh, summer. Wish I could join you for an ice tea on the porch, Eve! And it sounds like you’re providing your kids with lots of great summer memories and a nice break in the routine.

    BTW, I hate all those notices from school too. We could probably save a zillion trees if they just sent us emails…

  2. I’m with you–iced tea (iced coffee for me) and wine on he porch is what summer is all about. My kids are now old enough that they’re off on their own in their own cities, (but one still comes home for a night or two most weeks–usually to see his buddies who are still in town and/or attend a concert), but I loved those lazy days when they were home. And then, come August, I’m ready for the structure of school!

  3. I’d go jump in that cold river! This is such a funny post! And you’re such a smart mom to know that you’re kids are fine the way they are. I hope I keep that in mind as mine grow up.

  4. An open invitation is extended to all Debs – past and present – to join me on the screen porch sipping whatever! You too, Judy!

    And how could I forget to mention – yes, we are visiting grandma!

    Funny, but today is one of those quintessential New England summer days! We slept under blankets with windows closed, woke to cold rain and now it’s brilliantly sunny and (dare I say it?) hot and we’re wondering why we have so much clothes on! Time to hit the porch!

  5. Eve, we had just that kind of day here today in Michigan! We, too, just now thawed out.

    I like a loafing summer, too (though I don’t get one this year). Today, my son played for four hours with the neighbor kids: running in the sprinklers, inventing his own superheroes, playing on the swings. When I hear talk of year-round school, I shudder. Yeah, I know, they get more breaks and they don’t backslide over the summer and I’m sure plenty of studies show it’s just grand and for some kids I’m sure it perfectly suits them….

    But we have our whole lives to work every minute. I love letting kids have a nice, loafy summer.

  6. We just had a tornado watch…we watched it pass us by. Where would I go anyway…I have no under or over.

    Hey it just dawned on my that Eve’s first post was…school is out…has it been a year???

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