The school year can feel very long sometimes. Somewhere around March when the snow won’t melt and everything is grey and you’re close to offering up your first born in exchange for a sunny day and some budding trees, it starts to feel very long. At that point summer feels like a hazy fantasy, a tease on the calendar. And then summer arrives… and you realize that there are ways in which summer is longer than the school year.
There are ways in which 2 is more than 28. 28 kids entertain each other. 2 kids fight. While they’d like to play with anyone (ANYONE!) other than their sibling, everyone else is on holiday, or at camp, or whitewater rafting someplace way more exciting than what you, mommy, have to offer. 28 kids have a custodian. 2 kids have me: chief activities coordinator and janitor. So, it’s hard, during the summer, to give my kids the leeway to be creative and explore in the ways that I would like them to because, lordy, I’m just so tired of cleaning my house! (And we moved this summer, so that may account for some of my impatience.)
It’s also been hard to let my now 6-year old big boy have the independence he is so craving. Oh, I talk a good talk about The Land adventure playground in Wales and I’m a big fan of blogger Lenore Skenazy but when I watch my little boy bike down the street and out of sight all by himself, I have to swallow a big lump in my throat and hold myself back from running after him. But, oh, the reward is in how proud he is of himself that he crossed the street alone, that he remembered to look both ways, that he got up that big hill without having to walk his bike once, that he stopped at the stop sign. He’s so excited. I’m excited too… it’s just that it feels like walking on the edge of cliff, being on the verge of peril and greatness at the same time.
I am finding that, the more I document play at school, the harder it is to stop at home. I find myself constantly taking note of all the cool things my kids do while they play. This summer has been no exception. Children are amazing at finding ways to entertain themselves, even in very challenging circumstances. Lunch with the extended family gets too long? Set up a restaurant at the nearby tables and take each other’s orders!
When every single toy in the house has been packed… use the moving boxes to make forts!
And after you’ve moved, use the moving boxes in place of painting paper… because Mommy still hasn’t found the box with the paper!
Oh, and hit your brother, that’s always good for a few minutes of entertainment.
In the end, I’m looking forward to going back to school.
But… I’ll miss these long and lazy days, the morning snuggles, the endless books, building forts in the bush, the evening bike rides, and the visits from friends.