Schools all over the country are ending for the school year. Our local district’s final day is today.
Children will be released into the wilds of summer.
For some, that means scheduled activities from sun up to sun down. For some families that means free time. Some families will travel for vacations, while others will stay local while parents continue to work.
Locally, from the last day of school to the first day in August is 85 days.
That means there are 83 days of summer. Sadly for some, there is not 104 like our animated friends on Disney would like us to believe.
83 days. When the kids are in the middle of “discussing” who ate the last popsicle seems like an eternity.
83 days. Each year I look at summer break as a reset button. While activities continue, and kids spend time with friends, there is something sweet about the time.
Summer is the time that our kids can step outside of the social constructs of the school social structure.
It is the time when the “neighborhood friends” turn up in the yards. The kids who live close, and grew up in each other’s yards. During the school year, they spread into their activities and social groups. In the summer, that falls away and is replaced by popsicles, lazy bike rides, and backyard fires.
Pretenses fall away. Stress melts. GPAs don’t matter.
In our community, we have 83 days to wipe the slate clean. 83 days to reaffirm our pride, belief and unwavering support in our kids.
83 days to wipe clean any of the negative garbage that the school year, social structure, or life, in general, have piled onto them.
83 days to re-establish what our family stands for, what we believe in.
I tend to view summer as a renewal for them, physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually.
Whether we travel and create experiences, or stay home and play it low key, this is a season of rejuvenation.
That looks different for each family, and even for each kid within the family.
For one of my kids, the summer months will be consumed with school activities and even some homework for next year.
For another of them, each day will be a string of texts, snaps, and calls about which friends he wants to go on an adventure with that day.
For yet another, the days will quietly pass with Mario, Luigi, and possibly Lego Batman. This child’s only goal last summer was to watch the complete series of Phineas and Ferb (he managed to achieve this goal twice, and was very proud).
For my remaining child, it will be a combination of all of these.
All of this is fine. We will most likely not be traveling in a big way. We will weekend or day trip as the schedules allow.
In the time we are home, we will reinforce love, compassion, mercy, and grace as best as we can.
We will laugh at silly antics, stay in pajamas well into the afternoon, eat unhealthy food, and make as many small memories as possible.
We will go on the annual family camping trip.
We will play in creeks in the local parks.
We will swim in the backyard.
We will swim at the local pool.
We will catch fireflies.
We will stay up late.
We will read books, and forget to return them to the library.
I promise that for a very large fraction of the next 83 days, children will be sleeping in the living room and in each other’s bedrooms.
We will wash SO. MUCH. LAUNDRY.
Everyone will smell like sunblock. And bug spray.
At some point, I promise they will most likely be “locked” outside to play.
I guarantee that I will say, “It is not my job to entertain you.”
They will eat EVERYTHING in the house while complaining there is nothing to eat.
These are the summers that will shape their childhoods. For my children, they will not be grand, but they will be great.
All in the hopes that when they walk through the school doors again next year, their self-confidence will be high, and their worries low. We want them to carry our family’s support like a cape when they venture back into the world that is middle school and high school.
Local friends, your 83 days starts now, what will you do with it?