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Every year I complain about not having any real summer plans, then summer hits and it feels like time. Just. Wont. Slow. Down! So this year, I am wise to this problem, and prepared. Maybe too prepared…
Last week was the last week of school for my second grader and kindergartner. And ever since there has been something going on literally every single day! Field day, graduation, dance rehearsal, dance recital, our first out-of-town road trip vacation of the summer, and somewhere thrown into the mix, my husband and I celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary!
We get home from our anniversary trip, and no sooner do we unpack, we are running to the library to sign up for summer reading, using our children’s museum membership before it expires this week, booking summer camps, soccer and art classes, swimming lessons, and preparing for out-of-town relative visits and packing for more trips! And we still need to make sure the lawn gets mowed, the garden is watered, weeded, and picked, and the pets get fed!
As I look at our calendar for the coming weeks, I’m exhausted just thinking about it! Sure, I’d rather have a busy summer itinerary than bored kids lying on the couch, watching TV all day, and complaining that there’s nothing to do. But sometimes, when we’re in the car for hours, hiking breathlessly up a mountain, melting in the hot sun, or freezing at night in a tent, the whining is just as bad. AND in those incidents, I can’t just send them to their rooms!
A wise woman once said, “Vacation really is just moving your home chaos to another city.” Parents of any age children relate much? And yet for some crazy reason, we still plan beach days, long train rides to California, and road trips to far off places, forgetting that most of the travel time will include breaking up sibling fights, unplanned potty breaks, and a lot of whining. But we keep on camping, bicycling, hiking, fishing, and boating with rose-colored glasses, snapping pictures of only the good times, so we forget that not a moment before the shutter clicked we were barking at the kids to smile, and a millisecond after, little brother punches big sister.
Somehow, over time we forget the threats, timeouts, the “I’m hungry/bored/hurt/tired/can’t sleep” complaints, the tattling, the late bedtimes, early waketimes, and just the sheer exhaustion of parenting imperfect, tiny humans. We beg, bribe, yell, punish, and seethe on vacation just as much (okay, probably more) than we do at home, yet it doesn’t stop us from planning that even bigger trip next year. And when we get back home, desiring a vacation from our vacation, our poor littles are tired, hungry, bored, and fighting all over again in the house. The vicious cycle goes round and round again! Hmm…What was that definition of insanity?
So here’s to summer break! Here’s to chaos in the home, on the road, in the hotel, at the amusement park, in distant relatives/friends/strangers homes, on the trails, at the beach, in the tent, and back home again! And, finally, here’s to the fastest three months until that blessed back-to-school season arrives and we can send our beloved spawn and their chaos back to the professionals!