When I was in the trenches of parenting babies and toddlers, I didn’t understand the allure of summer. When you’re in the midst of diapers and midnight feedings and toddler tantrums, June 10 is no different than October 10 or March 10. It’s like Groundhog Day, but at least in the other seasons there was the small respite to be found in Mother’s Day Out or preschool.
This woman looks like she’s having fun, but she’s exhausted and over summer already. And it’s only June 12th.
The last few summers have shown a glimmer of appeal. The kids got older, and easier to parent. We could enjoy some of the pleasures of summer that in the past had been more work than whee! I’d dutifully make a Summer Bucket List, because that’s what all mommy bloggers worth their organic sea salt do. In reality, the list was more about surviving, about convincing mostly myself that we could entertain ourselves enough to make summer feel like it flew by rather than lasting roughly a year and a half longer than any other season.
But this summer … I feel it in my bones. It’s different. We sat in a booth at Steak-n-Shake last night, and while it rained outside the kids and I made our Summer Bucket List. It’s funny, in the first summer when it feels like we could do anything and everything in the next 10 weeks, we ended up with the most realistic, down-to-earth Bucket List yet. I finally get it. This is a summer to be savored, not to be filled with anything and everything to distract us from really enjoying it.
Elena is heading into the teen years. Soon her Summer Bucket List will be a list of 20 ways to avoid spending time with us. Eli is heading to kindergarten. He’s in the peak years when summer is second only to Christmas. Every day that includes the pool or a popsicle could be the Best Day Ever, as long as we spend it together. And me? I get to relive summer vacation all over again. Sure, there’s housework to do and a part-time job to attend now and then. But I get to go to the pool and eat popsicles, too, with some of my favorite people in the world. I’m damn lucky and if I don’t put anything else on my list, it should be to savor this season of life like the last melty drips of an ice cream cone.
For posterity’s sake, here’s the Six Family 2013 Summer Bucket List:
- Make a time capsule
- Visit St. Louis
- Camp outside
- Summer snowball fight
- Water balloon fight
- Visit IMA’s 100 Acres and have a picnic
- Master the art of giant bubbles
- Make a fort
- Holiday World
- Check out the Mythic Creatures exhibit in Lousiville
- Rent a paddle boat on the canal in downtown Indy
- Watch fireworks
- Make our own geocache
- Launch a rocket
- Go to an Indians baseball game
- Go fishing
- Have a cul-de-sac campfire s’mores fest
And of course, a Groundhog Day cycle of pool and popsicles, as summer should be.
Do you make a Summer Bucket List? Or do you prefer a more spontaneous approach? If you are making a list, check out the Summer Bucket List Challenge over at Happy Family Movement (always a big inspiration for me year round).