…da da dum de dum dum (Eminem’s Lose Yourself) Summer can mean so many things in our heart. I believe we can all close our eyes and recall a warm summer day, maybe hot with some teenage pop song that lays the emotionality and beat as the back drop for how our heart feels like exploding outside of us with joy, curiosity, enthusiasm, excitement. We are over flowing with a pure sense of fun and liveliness. It is this feeling that I have carried forward with me into how I approach creating a summer experience for my children. I just want to float back to this place. It’s as if I stand on the edge of a time bubble and am looking into my past holding the hands of my children pointing and saying, “Do you see that? Do you see the possibility that summer holds? Can you feel that? Can you taste it? It’s AWESOME!” Summer is new love, it’s a first kiss, it’s sun on your uncovered shoulders and the faint hint of Bain de Soleil UPF 4. It’s a Star Wars plastic cup from 7-11 filled with a non-corn syrup based Slurpee. It’s walking care free with your friends through several neighbors’ yards as the short cut to get down town and never thinking that there should or shouldn’t be “easement” for us as we pass. It’s camping in the backyard or hauling a mattress out onto a roof or a deck for a night under the stars in suburbia. It’s a racy rap song or an edgy Prince song…or something like that.
Having been a stay at home parent for the past 12 years, creating a summer that holds this care free space of fun with the right balance of some structure but mostly not so much, has been scary, nerve wracking, financially taxing and often times frustrating in an increasingly organized and planned environment. I have been often stifled and paralyzed by the options, the spread sheet of costs of camps dates to coordinate/availability, and looming thought of their friends all being gone and me going crazy if they are around each other too much and fighting incessantly. In the past without having a TV, the plans were around what was offered at the local library, museum memberships, short trips to see grandparents, intense prep and clean up from road trip/camping trips. But the best memories I have are the look you get when you are in the middle of some activity that just knocks all the age time barriers out the window and they stare at you like you have got to be the coolest person on earth. And the feeling inside when you receive that look of deep recognition from your child, is truly mind blowing. It’s like they are staring in some time warped moment where everything slows down and their essence transports into your heart and then you look around and the other siblings are starting to feel it also…vibing off it and it’s like someone just turned up the music to 11 and everything inside all of you is vibrating together. Everything is for that short long moment aligned and perfect and right and true. And somehow the hunger and fighting and frustration even from that moment until the time when our heads hit the pillow that night dissipate as we hug each other as they get tucked snugly into their beds…looking up with those glowing caring eyes that hold reverence and gratitude.
Favorite moments of the summer – Oldest – when he ran away from me because staying at sleep away camp at Camp Winnarainbow was too much fun and seeing me sucked. That was actually awesome. It was the confirmation that he had gotten everything out of it that I had hoped. Independence, freedom, courage and friends.
Middle – Seeing his eyes pop-out when I took him on an upside down roller coaster and then listening to him share with his brother and sister that Mom had taken him on an upside down roller coaster and then watching the other two sibling’s mouths drop. Youngest – Spending 5 hours at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and having to drag her away. She LOVED it! Oh, and the way she decorated the dining room table with pom-poms one morning so that it looked like Katy Perry had exploded into our house.
But fun moments aside, these kids learned to respect their newly working Mom and stepped up to the plate in ways they never have had to in order to help out with chores, with choices, with sacrifice. We all have circumstances to navigate as guides and teachers and parents in the best way we can as we raise these beings who will be ultimately in places of responsibility as we get older and they need to learn these things with respect and love infused.
It’s no wonder after the ever building energy of summer has dissipated and we draw nearer the Fall Equinox, there is bound to be tension, overwhelm and a tinge of sadness laced with hope and excitement as the Fall school calendar approaches. There is organizing and planning in so many ways that some days it seems a miracle that we actually all make it to the first day of school. There was more orchestrating around transportation of gear with a full 50% custody, can I hear an “OH YEA”!!! but if you knew where we had all been a year ago we would gladly trade dealing with a gear transportation issue than a not seeing each other issue. And so our pop-rock song from the summer and the heat of the beat softens into our recent warmly held memories for Summer 2012 as we usher in the 2012-2013 school year.