Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Dog Days of Summer

A lot of you are watching your kids head off to school--in Wisconsin we've got a state law protecting the tourism business. No school can start until after Labor Day. Just as well, the weather in June is so dicey and September is one of the nicest months. This year we've seen 90 once or twice, though. Already the nights are cool and the bite of fall is in the air. I'm not ready to say goodbye to summer. Or my kids.

In this way I'm blessed. Misters T, B and G are fun people, loving and humorous, busy and creative. They don't fight much and prefer to play with each other than with anyone else. Our house has been a labyrinth of battle castles, forts, art projects and games set up and abandoned and reset. We're finally free of soccer, baseball and summer school so the entire day and night is open to whatever pleases us--these unstructured days please me.

Sure, they don't sleep much, but I prefer the lazy pace of summer mornings--no rushing to the school by 8:00, no interrupting Frank DeFord on Morning Edition. I like not shaking kids out of bed. Making meals and snacks constantly is a bit of a drag, but so is homework and paperwork that the school piles on us each week. I'd still have to feed the kids and pack lunches anyway.

The spontaneous games of Sequence, races in the pool, discoveries in the garden, and debates over which force of nature is strongest (and which Super Hero is toughest) trump the few hours of freedom & structure provided by public education.

Maybe it's partly because of how crappy last year went for T, or fear that we're making the wrong move by letting him go to 4th grade. Maybe it's the realization that childhood is so fleeting and these glory days are numbered. I'll have lots of time to read, blog, write, clean my house when all 3 are in school in a few years. The irony is when they're the least amount of work and the most fun, they leave for the day. I'd rather be rid of them from ages 0-5 instead of ages 5-18.

Grudgingly I'll take them to dentist and doctor appointments, buy them backpacks and sticks of glue. I won't do cartwheels across the field this year after depositing them for their first day of school. I'll wish we'd have slept more nights in the tent in our yard and stayed up late with the telescope. I'll yearn for more trips to the drive-in theater and bonfires and fireflies. I'll be the mournful mom watching the clock and wondering when they'll come back home.

Today I'll savor Team Testosterone while they play Crash Brothers and have Bunny Day. We'll eat popsicles and stay up too late. I'll ignore the chaos overtaking my house and quelch my tendency to clean first and ask questions later--there'll be time for that in a couple weeks.


  1. Oh hon, I'm so with you. I LOVED summer vacation. And I was always the mom who cried on the first day of school. Embarrassing when they're in high school!

  2. We are trying to make the days drag here too... School doesn't start till September 2nd, but we seem to be running out of August way too quickly!

  3. I'm willing to bet your kiddos will ALWAYS remember this philosophy as one of the reasons you are a great Mom!

    We should totally start a 'WBN'! Don't ask me what we'd do, but we could get WI bloggers to link up...?!? We could try and have a WI blogger get-together...?

  4. It's always hard for summer to end, although our whole year looks like an elongated summer, but with snow:) It is nice to get back to some sort of routine though.

  5. Can I be your kid?
    What a fun mom!

  6. I totally hear you! A few weeks ago my kids were being total turds and I was anxious for school to start. Now that it's here (tomorrow!) I'm sad that they're going back and already missing them and thinking of all the stuff we should still be doing! It went so, so fast.

  7. So perfectly told.
    That does sound like a fun summer.
    I'm a bit envious though -- my kids (2 and 4) have been difficult for me to wrangle this summer and I long for a day to think. (Is that horrible?)

  8. Me too! I wish summer would stay longer. I like the lazy pace even though my boys are all in half day kindegarten and preschool. Still. Summer. Ahhh, summer.

    We haven't had one day in the 90's here yet. ????

  9. I still love summer vacation, I'm not excited to have my children gone, I know it's going to happen, but I want to hold them each day I can.

  10. #1: We love Sequence!

    #2: I think you mean 5-13; I used to wonder what people where complaining about with bickering kids and sibling rivalry. I found out when they became teenagers.

    #3: I love to read about people enjoying their kids. I sure did (and still do a lot of the time).

  11. For us school starts next Wednesday and I'm not ready for summer to be over.

  12. Ah-men. One of the reasons I hate our "year-round" school calendar is that I feel the fireflies are being neglected. There is no one to catch them on the front lawn because it seems to always be a school night and little boys are just getting into bed when the fireflies are coming out. Sigh...

  13. I enjoy the pace of summer, too. I get up with Husband because then i get "me time" until the teen and the collegiate wake up. Internet, morning a book, drink coffee...Labor Day, stay away, okay? Far away.


Spill it, reader.