Summer vacation is finally here! I think it is just me but this year did NOT fly by. It was a tough year for our family, adjusting to two new babies so maybe that is why I found I struggled to get through this school year and felt it dragged on. Whatever the reason, summer vacation could not get here fast enough.
You hear talk a lot about "bucket lists". I'm not really sure where the idea or term comes from but everyone seems to be making one. I like the idea of a bucket list for your life, things you'd like to do before you die. It's a nice way to motivate you to accomplish some of those things before time slips by and it's too late. What is very new to me and something I certainly never experienced as a child are the "Summer Vacation" bucket lists. I guess you ask your kids what they want to do over the summer and then proceed to try and cross them all of in the short 2 months you have off. I don't know if there are boundaries to this? If a kid says, "a trip to Florida" does that get written down? Is there a budget? Is there a limit as to how many things can be written on the list? If we only have 60 days of summer vacation but there are 120 things on the list (easily done if you have several kids writing things down) is it a mad dash to fit in two things a day till the end of vacation?
I'm not judging you if you do it. Every family has to do what works for their family but for mine...this is not going to happen. My idea of summer vacation is to not be as busy or busier as I was during the school year. I look forward to summer vacation because I want to relax and move at a snails pace if the day allows. I want to be able to wake up and not be rushed in the morning. I have to imagine that it can get pretty stressful to fulfill all the items on those bucket lists. I also don't want to deal with the disappointment that might come. I'm sure some kids are very reasonable and understand if some things don't get crossed off but there are also some that must get pretty disappointed if time runs out before they are all completed. I don't want that kind of stress hanging over me. I don't want my summer vacation to be a race against time trying to cross everything off a list...a list filled with a child's fleeting desires. My experience with kids has been that they can desperately want to do something one minute and then two seconds later they have moved on to something else. I don't want to spend my summer trying to fulfill fleeting desires all while depleting my bank account!
I also do not want my kids to look forward to summer vacation because we have something planned every day. I want my kids to look forward to summer vacation for the reasons I did...to be home! I looked forward to being able to play outside with my friends everyday, riding my bike, spending time with family at the camp and seeing cousins I didn't get to see the rest of the year. My summers were so simple. We woke up and we didn't always know what the day would bring but by the end of it we had some new adventures to talk about, a new secret hiding place, a new tree we found that was perfect for climbing and maybe even a new neighborhood friend we had made that day. As we got older there were several beach days and usually a trip to go visit family for a week or so but still the rest of my summer was simple. It was waking up and not really knowing what the day would hold. I want my kids to wake up and find new adventures on their own, without me "entertaining" them. I want them to get creative with each other and do things like explore our woods, find animal tracks, create their own secret clubhouse, ride their bikes and just play a game of soccer in the yard. I want them to have enough down time that they can get lost in a book or two or three. I want to have enough time with them at home so I can teach them some things that I don't have time to during the school year like cooking or doing their own laundry or how to use pruning shears and show them that work can be fun if we are working together. I want my kids to get excited about the little things and not find them boring. I want my kids to understand that real life is not always getting to do everything we want and then teaching them that that is okay because there is so much fun and joy to be found in the simple things.
That being said ,we do have a few fun things planned for the kids but when I say a few I really mean a few! We have 3 young kids who have never been to Storyland but our older two have. We will be taking the three younger ones in a couple weeks while the older two and the babies stay home (with our super fun babysitters!). This is a birthday gift for our July birthday boy. This might sound mean to some of you parents but trying to keep a watchful eye on 7 kids (At a theme park where rides are involved!) and having two in diapers is not the way I want to do Storyland. So we take them in stages. Everyone gets to go at some point and mom & dad are way less stressed...we're pretty outnumbered! We will also get to stay at my families camp on the lake for a week. I am so excited about this. I grew up spending most of my days at the camp and this is where the majority of my summer memories were made. They are to this day, my favorite memories. I am so excited to share this with my kids and am so thankful I have been given the opportunity to do so. Then we end our summer with Camp Good News (click on the link if you are not familiar with camp...it's a blast for kids and so affordable!) Ben and I will be staff workers that week and the three older boys will get to be campers. As a family we love camp so it's a great way to end our summer fun! What will do to fill in all that other time? I don't know! That is the beauty of summer vacation...not knowing what memories lie ahead and the stories we will have to tell at the end of it. I am looking forward to a great couple of months and I hope you are too!