Remember summer vacation as a kid? Long, warm, lazy summer days. They were full of trips to the pool and to the library. We had no air conditioning in my house growing up; it was a Chicago Bungalow built in (I think) 1907. (Quick aside…I just went to that site and I think I dislocated my jaw when it bounced off the floor looking at the rehabs of the old houses. I guarandamntee my house didn’t look that good; makes me want to go back, buy one, and rehab the heck out of it. Wow.) Because it was an old house with no a/c in the Chicago humidity, I played in the cool basement, hiding in the little storage rooms, listening to Star Wars on my little Fisher-Price record player. The only way to get my room cool at night was to open both windows (my bedroom was on a corner), stick a full-sized window fan in one blowing out, and get the cool night breeze through the room. My brother and I played with the neighborhood kids; kickball in the street, races up and down the block, hide and seek. No, I’m not making this up, it really was that idyllic. If we wanted a drink, well, there was the bathroom faucet and a cup. We went to a few summer camps (they must have been cheaper then…dang…talk about sticker shock these last couple of weeks), and visited relatives downstate. (Oh, if you’re not from Illinois…downstate refers to anything south of I-80. Just sayin’…)
I don’t remember my mom going out of her way to entertain us every day, or being worried about what we were going to do. We didn’t watch that much tv; these were the days before cable and there wasn’t anything on anyway. We played, we read, we entertained ourselves. I’m sure we did drive her batsnot crazy, but I don’t remember that.
So what the frack is wrong with me?
I am going slowly insane trying to come up with activities for the boys for the summer. They are both out of school in about six weeks and I’m freaking out. Summer camps are outrageously expensive, and many of them have wait lists already. Swim lessons are filling up. I can’t get answers from the music school, my subdivision’s community center, or the library about their summer programs. And a family trip is out of the question this summer; when it’s $50 to fill my minivan’s tank and it barely lasts a week…well, it’s a staycation for us this year.
As much as I’d like the revisit the halcyon days of my youth, times have changed. I can’t throw the boys outside at 9am and tell them to come back for lunch…or to be home when the streetlights come on (seriously, that was my alarm to head home until I had my drivers license). On my little side street, cars and trucks roar up and down the block too fast for comfort. There are few kids on this block, and the ones that are here are too young for my boys to play with. And, because times have changed, many of my sons’ friends are in structured activities all summer.
*****We interrupt this post for an important message*****
I cannot STAND the PBSkids show Dragon Tales. Hate.It. The boys love it. If I have to hear the girl-side of that two headed dragon squeal out “Looooooooooooove It!”one.more.fracking.time, I’m going to lose my everlovin’ mind.
*****We now rejoin the post already in progress*****
So my plan for the summer is to just wrap up the summer plans already. I’ll sign the boys up for swim lessons at our subdivision’s pool (at least that way we can get in before the hordes and can stake out a spot in the shade). We’ll hit the library. A lot. J can take a little music class. And that will be that. On my side for the summer is the delightful fact that the school behind our house will be done, completed, finis. It appears the playground will be directly over our back fence and next to that is the blacktop play area, complete with kid-sized basketball hoops, hopscotch, and what appears to be tetherball. It’s safe, it’s away from traffic, and it’s going to be totally available this summer. Bicycle riding, scooter riding, basketball playing…all in my backyard. We’ll go to the zoo, the museum, the park. I’ll get a grip and let things slide so I can enjoy my sons. It’s only two and a half months (remind me of this come mid-June, when I want to sell them on eBay).
What are your plans for the summer? Anything good? Anything I’d be totally envious of? What do you have planned for your kiddos? Surely I’m not the only one in this boat! C’mon, share the love, end my planning panic…share!