The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
And so the same can be said for mothers, especially mothers who begin each summer with such high expectations.
I always begin the summers with such high hopes for a good balance of activities and free time, of work and play, of projects and spontaneity. I know this is a recipe for failure, but I do it anyways. I imagine days filled with all of these things, and then forget that there are only 24 hours in a day. I forget that this summer there is everything I want to do + everyday life that still has to be tended to + a part-time job I didn’t have last summer.
I begin the summer with impossible goals. By mid-July I’m exhausted and over it. And at the end of August I’m sad that another summer is over and was it good enough?
I think it was. Yes, I wish the kids had spent less time in front of the TV. No, we didn’t go camping like we said we wanted to. But every summer I make these grand plans and forget that the kids only ask for a few things. They want to have mornings with no place to be. They want to eat as many popsicles and ice cream cones as possible. They want to see fireworks. They want to stay in the pool until their fingers are wrinkly and the lights come on. They want to ride a roller coaster.
I had big plans for Labor Day Weekend, most of which involved spending as much time as possible at our aptly named pool, Summer Break. Mid-week I realized that we’d be lucky to spend Friday at the pool without getting soaked by the remnants of Hurricane Isaac. It made me grumpy. No matter that it was all out of my hands, somehow it was a failure on my part.
The kids could care less. They’re just happy to have a weekend spread out before them with no place to be. They’re content to jump in the pool one last time. They’re not sad that summer is over, they did everything they wanted to. Their lists are short, their spirits high. Once again they are the teachers and I am the student. Hopefully I will absorb this lesson before it’s too late.
Next summer please remind me. Plans are for mice and men. Summer is for the kids.