We’re nearly finished with our second full week of summer vacation around here.
In truth, getting out of school before May has even run its course (and being several weeks into “summer” when friends and family are still faithfully making sack lunches and checking backpacks each day) seems a bit silly.
But I won’t complain. I like my kids being home. I like the carefree stretch of days that these few set-apart months gift us.
That doesn’t mean I’m not a bundle of contradictions, of course. I’m perfectly (and ridiculously) capable of loving the pace and family-togetherness of summer . . . while simultaneously finding bits of stress in the freedom and missing the predictable (and productive) schedule that the school year gives us.
I love mornings being less rushed but miss the efficiency of everyone dressed and hair all brushed by 8:00 am. (Somehow we can’t manage everyone out of pajamas at all some days!)
I love older kids home in the day making it possible for me to run errands while little ones nap but miss the quiet stretch of time when those little ones napped and the house was perfectly still.
I love movie nights and kids giggling and jumping on the trampoline at 9:00 pm but miss everyone settled in bed early and time alone with just Mike.
I love them being home all day to interact together but get plenty of extra arguments to settle.
I love not stressing over homework and assignments but worry about keeping the littler ones progressing with reading and other skills.
I love the days being open before us to pile everyone in the car for snow cones or pull out swimsuits and start up the sprinklers but fret over everyone making good use of their time and over monitoring the use of electronics, etc.
Anyway, it’s here. Our summer. And I am glad. I’ve been strangely aware of how . . . I don’t know exactly . . . how different life keeps getting as my kids age. Our summers used to seem so much all about me coming up with plans and entertaining little people, and now, there are things like . . . kids mowing lawns or asking to be dropped off at the local swim park. There are still so many of the same things – the traditions and the familiar – but so much within that framework of familiar keeps evolving and changing dynamics. It’s a strange thing: these moments when you look at your life in pieces, almost like flipping through photo albums. You see similar activities and togetherness – threads of unmistakable sameness that weave through it all -- but it’s also impossible to miss the obvious unfolding of new things and the shifts that happen subtly but . . . keep happening and adding up. I don’t know what to make of it all. It feels like a happy thing. And yet . . . I feel a little ache under my ribs each time I notice it . . .