Remember when you were little, in particular, the elementary school years; remember that first day of summer break? The whole world was ripe with possibilities; the air pregnant with days hanging upon endless days of potential adventure. You could taste the freedom; the earth seemed to give off the smell of it. It was palpable, tactile. The world thrummed to the beat of it.
I’m having that same experience today. I got up, the kids are still sleeping, and had no pending obligations (no papers or tests on the near horizon, no reading that I should be doing). All at once, I wanted to take a nap (because I could), read a fluff book (but I haven’t been to the library for fun in a few months), write letters, scrapbook, paint something (not a room, but something completely frivolous like a canvas), sit on my porch and do nothing but drink a cup of coffee. And I couldn’t decide, because at this point, they were all viable possibilities. The openness, the unfettered days of summer stretching out before me, tantalizingly spacious.
It is intoxicating. No, literally. I get this way every year: actually intoxicated with the possibilities that summer holds. I make grandiose plans fully intending to see each one through. It’s headier than the New Year for me. I have a “this-is-the-summer-I-will-[fill in the blank]” condition. And it’s chronic.
Last summer was the “I-will-teach-the-children-Spanish-and-how-to-play-the-piano” summer. Granted, in order to teach them Spanish, I would first have to learn myself. And I was forced to admit, (I humbly apologize, Mrs. Curtis) that I could only read the treble clef, after much line and space counting. So a basic C scale was all we learned last year. But we did spend a week with my family on the beach in North Carolina. And we camped a few times, attended the Renaissance Festival, caught a few Rockies games, and took in the DCI tournament at Invesco Field. So while the summer was hardly a bust, I am aching to plan this year’s activities.
After heeding the multiple warnings from the school and experts, I have vowed to do some form of math, reading, and writing with the kids every day. We wouldn’t want the children losing 20% of their knowledge base in 3 short months! We will go to the library once a week, hit the Denver Art Museum once a month, concoct science projects, seek out classical concerts. We will find somewhere that lets 5 year-olds volunteer and do something that will make a difference. Instead of Spanish, since I’m diving in next term, I think this would be a great time for the family to learn Greek (my husband who is years ahead, can teach us simple songs and vocabulary; though I have yet to run this plan by him). Of course, there’s still the piano sitting unused in the living room, aching for someone to play. (And studies show that children who play music perform better in math and science; so not teaching them piano might actually be detrimental.)
Or, we could sleep in every day. Hit the pool, take some bike rides. Do art projects, spend more time getting to know God, each other, and our neighbors, find little ways of making this world a nicer place to live. Hike, camp, fish. Relax. Follow each day wherever it takes us. We read daily anyway; and math is everywhere. Instead of a perfectly planned couple of weeks, we could have another summer filled with new experiences that lead to memories, laughter, friends, and family.
Maybe for me, this-is-the-summer-I-…quit expecting too much.
What about you?