The days of laziness. Slow mornings. Unscheduled hours. Long hours swimming. Sport camps. VBS. Naps disguised as quiet time. Day trips to the library. Impromptu play dates. Hours to be bored. Running through the sprinklers. Suppers that last into the night. Staying up to catch lightning bugs. Bedtimes are slacked. Routine thrown aside.
Nowhere to be. No rush rush rush. Time to slow down. Relax. Enjoy.
But not for my kids.
Monday through Friday, they have to be up by 6:45 a.m. and out the door by 7:10 a.m. Drop off Kid 1 at his Summer Care School, drive through morning commute traffic, drop off Kid 2 at daycare. Their days are full of back-to-back activities, field trips, and scheduled snacks and meals. Day ends with two pick-ups, hurry home to have a meal, a little bit of play time or TV time, bath, and then bed. Because they are exhausted.
Some nights my 7-year-old is in bed asleep by 7 p.m.
In my house, it doesn’t feel like summer.
Honestly, I kinda hate it.
I want those slow summer mornings. I want to do simple, random activities with my kids. I want to get to the point where I need a break from them. I want to spend hours at the pool splashing and lounging. I want to be asked for snack after snack. I want to yell at them to turn the hose off, close the door, and put more sunscreen on. I want more than anything for my kids to have a typical lazy summer.
They want it, too.
My 7-year-old said to me he wishes my work wasn’t open in the summer. That he could stay home, like his friends.
The guilt rushes over me and I hold back the tears.
Oh, sweet boy. I wish you could, too.
Just like I did when I was his age.
Days filled with cookie making, imaginative play, and lunch outside. Exploring. Enjoying. Fulfilling. Fun.
Instead, I try to cram all the summer activities into every other weekend.
My children are not alone. They have friends who are with them at summer care school. The program is full. And other schools and daycare offer school-age summer care.
I am not alone. In the working parent guilt. Wishing for slow, hot days with my children. Not worrying about work, PTO, deadlines to keep, and whatever else is happening at the office.
My boys have fun. I know they do. Field trips to the zoo, movie theater, bounce places, children’s museum, splash water park and much more. Water play day is the highlight of the week. Daily crafts, book reading, and screen time. Kickball, four corners, and tag. Staff who know them by name and give hugs. They are loved and cared for.
I know this.
Yet they would give all that up to spend the summer home with mom.
I use to really like you. I soaked up your sweet, leisurely days. Capturing all the promises you gave.
Now, you are a time that makes me ache. I see my friends and their kids loving you and I am jealous. I want everything you are known for, too. And I can’t have it. Neither can my kids.
So we take little pieces here and there. Hoping and praying it is enough.
For my boys’ memories of you to always be loving and warm.
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