Here in CT we still have a couple weeks of school left before it’s officially summer.
But for me, summer really begins today, on Memorial Day.
And every summer I tell myself I’m going to slow down and enjoy it, but this summer I really fucking mean it.
It’s the last summer before Number 7 starts kindergarten and the first summer in a couple years where we aren’t wondering whether or not we are gonna get booted out of our house.
I think that whole foreclosure situation had me functioning like a mindless zombie on autopilot at full speed on all cylinders for so long that it has taken me a couple months to decompress, and I’m just starting to really be aware of how incredibly insane I had let my life become.
When you are faced with the very real possibility of losing your home, it puts other things into perspective. Most of the stuff I thought was do-or-die a couple years ago no longer even makes the list of priorities.
And dammit, this year I am NOT going to wake up on Labor Day with any regrets.
I’m going to pause, breathe, and really experience the summer with the kids and through their eyes.
I am going to give my kids (and myself) a summer like the ones I had as an eight, nine and ten-year-old back in the late seventies.
This summer we will not keep a running tally of how many minutes or pages or books we have read. We will not competitively fill out reading logs.
But we will go to the library and sit in a corner and smell the books and spend an hour on some really hot mornings in the air conditioning reading. (This will be the summer that I return all the books on time, too).
And we will find the perfect spot to spread out a blanket and read under the shade of a big old tree.
This summer I will take a nap in a hammock.
This summer I will not follow a regimented training plan for a triathlon or a marathon or anything, for that matter.
But we will all ride our bikes.
We will spontaneously take a trip up to Kent Falls and go for a hike in the woods and walk barefoot in a cold stream and swim in a river.
We will catch frogs in a pond of questionable content and stay up way past our bedtime and catch fireflies in glass jars.
This summer we will not do math packets or any of the goddamn worksheets the school sends home at all, for that matter.
But we might write a couple good old fashioned letters to our friends and learn how to address an envelope.
This summer we will not practice math facts with flashcards or apps on an iPad.
But we will go to a drive-in movie.
This summer I’ll get up before everyone and have a cup of coffee out on the back deck and really appreciate my back yard in the summer while I watch the sun rise and then when everyone wakes up we’ll eat breakfast outside in our pajamas.
This summer we will swim in a lake where we can’t see the bottom and spend a day on a friend’s boat (yes, you know who you are and I just invited my whole family onto your boat).
We will wear our bathing suits into the grocery store to get some snacks and drinks and ice for the cooler on our way to the beach.
This summer we will finally go to one of the concerts in the park and we’ll eat and drink and dance with out friends.
We’ll get up early and dig in the dirt while it’s still cool and find our own worms and go fishing where my dad took me fishing when I was a kid.
This summer we will grow our own vegetables in a garden and then proudly eat them.
We’ll pick raspberries and blackberries right off the bushes and eat them all before we even have a chance to bring them inside.
We will go to the creamery and wait in a super long line on the hottest night of the summer for the best ice cream around.
We will go to the beach at low tide and find hermit crabs and play on the sandbars and stay until the sun sets and it’s cool enough to put a sweatshirt on.
This summer we will camp out in the back yard and make a fire in the fire pit and roast marshmallows on a Tuesday night because we can.
We will play badminton and bocce and croquet and horseshoes until it’s too dark to see anymore.
We’ll invite our relatives over and have a lobsterfest and eat corn on the cob and get butter all over pretty much every square inch of our bodies.
We’ll go to a flea market and check out some cool stuff and eat donuts and buy somebody’s really old junk.
And we’ll go to a carnival and eat cotton candy and candy apples and spend too much money on games we can’t win and ride as many rides as we can until we are sure we are going to puke.
We will make mud puddles with the hose and then run in the sprinkler to wash it all off.
We will wash the car with the hose and a bucket of soapy water in our bathing suits.
We’ll get a big ass piece of plastic and make a slip and slide in the back yard and bruise the crap out ourselves but not care because it’s so much fun.
This summer we will walk around barefoot so much that our feet won’t get clean until mid September.
And then, on Labor Day, we’ll have one last barbeque, go for one last swim, and say to each other without any regrets,
That was the best summer ever.