So, its official! School. Is. Out! Thank the Lord!! Please, let the summer festivities begin!!
We are no different than most families in that we like late nights, campfires, fireflies, swimming pools, baseball, sprinklers, and basically anything that constitutes an easy going summer. We began our summer with the ceremonious “burning of the homework” campfire last night. Nothing says, “I love school” like incinerating a whole year’s work in 15 minutes of raging fire. I think it just brings closure to the school year…at least that’s what I’m telling myself…for now anyway!
Part of our summer involves early morning walks. This may seem a bit contrary to other concepts of summer mornings, but we tend to be early risers anyway so it works for us. Also, since no one has to be at school at any particular time we can ease into our morning coffee and breakfast with a good walk. Around 6:00-6:30 we are up and walking the dirt roads discussing the meaning of life (according to 7 and 10 year olds…), confiscating magnificent finds like a bird’s feather or colorful rocks, coming across deer and other wild creatures but also enjoying each other’s company. I love this time of day as no one fights or has figured out what to fight about – yet! It also gives Mom enough time to really wake up and feel like she can make pancakes without burning the house down due to the slightly catatonic state she normally has issues with this early in the morning.
While I was making breakfast this last weekend after our morning walk, the boys caught an episode of “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.” For some reason it was on PBS Sunday morning. They loved it and I was amused by all their questions about it. I had told them this was pretty much the only kid show (aside from Sesame Street) that existed when I was little. To this, they were shocked but continued with their questions like:
“Why does he change his coat and sweater?”
“Does Mr. Rogers have a website we can go to to see more episodes? Is he on YouTube?”
“Why isn’t Mr. Rogers on TV anymore?”
“Are there any toys with King Friday or Charlie we can buy?”
“Are there games we could play on the Mr. Rogers website?”
I had to laugh as it is SO APPARENT my kids are not being raised in the 1970s!! Which to some extent, I think is kind of sad. They really have no clue what it is like to live without Google or Blockbuster movies complete with action figures, costumes, or special feature DVDs. I happened to read an article on the SCARY MOMMY blog by Melissa L. Fenton in which she describes 10 things she’d like to do for her kids to give them a 1970s summer. The article was awesome and of her 10 things, these are a few I can really get on board with:
- Make them play outside (check…that’s about all we do in the summer)
- Let them watch TV but only on the TV Land channel. (considering how much they loved Mr. Rogers, I think we could be good here…)
- Eat whatever – don’t worry about sugar free, gluten free, organic-type snacks. Let them eat sugar, and Kool-Aid! (heck, we’re Nebraska for cryin’ out loud! Kool-Aid was invented here! This shouldn’t be too hard for us since we’re not exactly health-conscience people…shhh….it’s our secret…)
- Make stuff, from like stuff you find not stuff you buy. (Check, check! The Kubiks are good here. I don’t think my children have ever turned away a cardboard box, string, tape, or paper – ever. We have produced quite a few crazy creations that are designed regularly upon our kitchen table)
- Have them put on a talent show. (Oh, my word…check, check, and send me to a crazy home, check. My oldest loves to perform for us. He even makes the hubs and I tickets to be “admitted” into his bedroom for the show. Despite the fact that we already do this, I still think this is an awesome way for kids to use their imagination and not a video game!)
- Build a fort in the back yard or one in the living room. (Get the sheets out…Fort Kubik, here we come!)
I think it is easy to miss the everyday-ordinary-parts of life. The internet is awesome and I love using it, but I think it makes us all lazy…not just the kids. I try to fight some of the consequences of the technological age, but I fall victim to it all the time. I do hope by the time my boys are raised I will have done my part to make sure they know how to sit back and relax (not feeling like they HAVE to be involved in every activity under the sun..), they can look people in the eye and talk to them (not text while sitting 6 feet away), and know how to enjoy the ordinary parts of life. Not everything has to be an over-the-top experience to be a good experience.
I don’t know about you, but we are going to do our best to keep summer simple, fun and relaxing. Maybe have ourselves a retro-70-style summer! I hope you will do the same! Enjoy!