Now that schools have closed their doors until next year, many children would agree with this sentiment. But what about parents? If the hilarious Meijer ads that hit the screen and airwaves during back to school season are any indication (you know the ones: they encourage parents to “relax by the pool while your kids are at school” while the theme from “Welcome Back Kotter” plays in the background), it seems like for some parents, the kids’ summer off from school can’t end soon enough.
Now, I’m not knocking parents for feeling this way. It’s not that we don’t enjoy our children, but the challenge of keeping them safe, actively engaged in activities other than watching TV and from slipping into an academic relapse over the break can make summer seem long and daunting for even the most adoring parent.
But as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized summer isn’t long. These summer afternoons are fleeting, so I want to make memories that last. Does that mean spending a fortune on the latest and greatest camps or breaking the bank by taking vacations to exotic destinations? Not necessarily. Though there’s nothing wrong with that, I’m talking about being with our children when we can because these three precious months really do fly by.
Last week I got home a little early to find my seven-year-old playing by himself. When I asked where his sister was, he explained that she was asleep before claiming, “Now you can spend some mother-son time with me.” For the next hour, I just spent precious one-on-one time with my son. Since we were the only ones eating, we set the table together. He rambled on about whatever popped into his mind and reveled in my undivided attention.
After dinner, I let him lead me in how he wanted to play. He handed me a foam sword and shield and we fenced on the kitchen floor. After several rounds of touché, I switched gears on him. The look on his face when I hiked up my maxi dress, assumed my ninja stance and yelled, “Whah!” was priceless. Finally, we grabbed our “shields” and wandered out to the deck. Levi made up a variation of hopscotch where he laid the foam pieces out in various patterns and I had to guess where he was allowed to jump.
At this point my oldest stepson and my husband joined us, and then my daughter Liv woke up from her nap. As glad as I was to see them all, their appearance and the setting of the sun signified the end of what I hope my son will remember as a perfect summer afternoon. I know I will.