Oklahoma City family fun marks our seasons.
Independence Days marks the unofficial halfway point of the summer. The days are long and we stay inside, draw the drapes, crank the AC. This is the summer in which my son, age 9, has friends and free time, so I field requests from neighbor kids to come out and play. The doorbell rings and I hush the baby back to sleep, keep rocking his swing with one foot.
My toddler stares longingly out the window, too little to go with them. It's not his turn yet.
What stands out to me about this summer is the lack of boredom. I think we've had one, maybe two, bored afternoons and that's it. I'm surprised by the fact that these children want to sleep, want to play independently, want to relax.
It'll be back to school time before we know it. Routine will replace these quiet days. There are always chores. Homework will resume. After-school activities and birthday parties seem to sandwich themselves in-between it all.
If my kids want to chill now and enjoy their summer reading, more power to them. Should they get bored in the next six weeks, I know where to turn for fun ideas: we'll go back to our summer bucket list.
Here's what we have left on our list for this year's free time:
- Visit a you-pick-it farm: My kids want to pick peaches. I can find a spot here and we'll enjoy the drive. I think the whole farm-to-table idea solves the mystery of where food comes from and gives kids an appreciation for the way it's cultivated. We need to do that.
- Camping: "Mom? You said we could go camping this summer. So can we? I'd like to get that scheduled if we're going to go so that, you know, I don't make any plans with friends on a weekend you meant for us to go camping. It's soon, right?" Sam asks reluctantly because he knows I don't want to camp. The soon-to-be fourth-grader is halfway through childhood at this point too and has not been camping; I am not an outdoorsy person in the least. I've seen all the outdoors I wanted to see, for a lifetime, but these three boys have not. We should visit a national park. They keep asking to camp. Even if it's just pitching a tent in our very suburban back yard and letting everyone sneak back in for microwave s'mores, we should try it.
- Finish reading a novel: Every summer, we choose a book to read together, usually more than one. The five-year age gap is starting to show, as Sam reads independently and outpaces what I can keep up with right now. We're reading "The One and Only Ivan" by Katherine Applegate. I'd love to finish it, with all three children listening, by August.
- Firefly night: What you do is go out at dusk-into-darkness, that time when the sunset is fading, to see what you can see. Frogs, fireflies, bats: they're all around on warm summer nights. Mosquito repellant goes a long way. Staying up past the designated summer bedtime is absolutely permitted, just this one time, or well, especially this one time.
When teachers everywhere assign the standard "What did you do this summer?"- five paragraph essay, I want my kids to be able to say something more than "played Clash of Clans" and "watched TV." There is surely more to show, tell and remember.
I think it'll be just fine.