Summer Shift

SummerShift1I couldn’t wait for the kids to get out of school for summer. To sleep in late, eat leisurely breakfasts without making lunches at the same time and not have to race to school before the 7:55 bell ran.

After the end-of-year ceremony on Friday morning, we had a picnic back at our house for both Andie and Tucker’s classes. The party was scheduled to go until 1:00 pm, but the last family left just after 4:00 and a couple of kids stayed over for the night.

Saturday brought soccer games and more end-of-year parties, and Sunday brought even more of the same. The kids were tired, yet loved every minute of the constant entertainment.

Then Monday morning arrived with pouring rain, and not an activity in sight. I was thrilled.  I woke early and read in bed, imagining the glorious, unscheduled day that lay ahead.

But by 1:00 in the afternoon, after saying no to TV for the hundredth time, repeatedly congratulating the kids on the luxury of being bored, tolerating their fighting and running out of chores for them to complete, I started to panic.

I wondered if it was too late to get them into summer camps. I wrote out a grid of calendar squares and made lists of all the activities for which I could sign them up. I remembered the fliers I’d seen at the café and the personal ads in the school newsletter. My pencil scratched across the page listing tennis lessons, guitar and drum lessons, math tutoring, pottery and painting lessons, swimming lessons, archery, basketball, soccer and circus camps. These kids wouldn’t be bored by the time I was done with them.

Then a photo on my desk from last summer caught my eye. The kids were tanned, wearing over sized sweatshirts, sitting on beach chairs around a backyard campfire with s’more sticks balanced in their hands. I studied the picture and told myself to hang in there. Give the kids some time to make a shift and remember what it feels like to have unplanned, open-ended time. They will remember, I told myself.  Resist the urge to plan.

So I slid my lists off to the side of my desk and let out the breath I didn’t know I’d been holding.

A little while later, the house had grown so quiet that I went in search of the kids. Soft talking and laughter was coming from Tucker’s room. When I peeked around his door, I saw the kids up on his bed with a card game spread out between them.

“Oh, hi Mom,” Tuck said, when he saw me looking in. “Andie’s teaching me to play Zeus on the Loose. You wanna play?”

The rain continued to splatter on the roof, and I felt our summer shift begin.

“There’s nothing I’d rather do,” I said, climbing up on the bed with the kids who would be all mine for the rest of the summer.


We’re always on the look out for fun summer games and activities? Any you’d like to share?


We’re always on the look out for fun summer games and activities? Any you’d like to share?