We’ve adopted the idea of a slow summer–you know, the 70s one you keep hearing about. It’s not because we need to announce some sort of manifesto, or statement, or grand philosophical theory about kids needing to be bored, or how a scheduled calendar creates a sad kid, etc. Some of this is simply propelled by necessity: we just bought a new house, and extra petty cash isn’t exactly falling out of the sky like all that rain we got last week. I’m on deadline, and only have so much time to turn in an awesome, completely revised, perfectly sensible book manuscript to my editor (amazing words, those you just read. Scary words, too). My brother is getting married this summer (whoop! whoop!), and we’re all in the wedding (whoop!), and the wedding is about half the country away (whaaa?) from our corner of Pennsylvania. So, craziness, in all its wonderful glory.
But it’s also because that’s who we are (hmm. Maybe there is a bit of a manifesto happening here). David and I aren’t ones to schedule our kids into a ton of activities. We know that one day (like, this fall), we might have to be those parents, once everybody’s in school and has settled into sports and clubs and super-social friends. But right now? When our oldest is six and just wants to play mother-and-baby with her little sister? No. It’s not happening. When the baby still takes an afternoon nap? Yeah, he’s keeping that. So, this summer will be: water toys in the backyard. A beach bag packed with towels and watermelon slices at the community pool. Evening adventures to our local amusement park, thanks to my mom and the gift of season passes. There will be swingset-hopping around the neighbors’ yards, ice cream runs on a whim. Yes, this summer will mean breaking up fights, and sending the kids (the ones that can walk, anyway) outside just for some peace and quiet already, and knowing that any kind of plans for productivity (i.e., cleaning) will be blown to bits like a Fourth of July firecracker. But that’s the fun of it. Because this is the time for them to stay up late, to sleep in, to hang out in pajamas all day if that’s what they want to do. There will be complaints of being bored that turn into fantastic art projects and made-up plays. They’ll take turns on the swing set while I watch from the deck, manuscript revisions in one hand (deadline! deadline!), a glass of lemonade (eh. pinot grigio) in the other. There will be endless loops of “My Little Pony” on rainy days. Saoirse will read books to me and her sister, and Cian will (maybe) learn how to walk. There will be lazy trips to the farmer’s market, to the lake, to the library, to see friends. I might learn how to calm the heck down, and know the important stuff will get done, and the other stuff doesn’t matter anyway.
It will be slow.
Because it’s going to go by so quickly.