Thursday, May 23, 2013

Summer: Let The Bucket List Begin

School officially ended yesterday, making today the first true day of summer.  No matter that the calendar places June 21 as summer's starting point--the earth seems to agree this season's start should revolve around the school calendar.  Just last week, the temperatures suddenly spiked above 90 degree, bringing the heat and humidity just in time to warm up our swimming pool for a daily splash-fest against the late afternoon sun.

I know there are some parents who dread having to fill almost three months with activities for their children, but our family is quite the opposite.  It's not about "keeping them busy" but about doing and being together.

The twins have longed the most for Wyatt to rejoin them.  Although he plays the role of the bossy older brother all too well, he also makes a great partner in crime for those treks through the Little Hundred Acre Wood, fishing expeditions for tadpoles in the swamp, sword fighting, or imaginary play in the club house.

Summer is as close to timelessness as one can get, a short period when anything is possible if you can only dream it (and your mom says yes!), when the constant pressure to watch the clock is no more.  Morning alarms are turned off, days extended to allow for that extra story or game.

There is freedom to go off the map, explore uncharted territories you only thought you didn't have time for before.  Routines aren't completely done away with but are made anew, huge chunks of time filled with different activities that speak more of childhood and fun rather than the rigid molds of adulthood our society seems so eager to press our children into.

From sunup to sundown, the farm is--and will continue to be--a bustle of random summer activity.  Riding bikes down the gravel drive, holding a dozen reluctant "teenage" chickens in the coop, reveling in the daily egg found in Gertrude's nest, creating their own puppet shows, coloring by number, enjoying time with mommy on the sofa in daily half hour reading marathons, using stamps to create get-well-cards, continuing with each day's reading lesson, and love, love, loving the library's Summer Reading Program.

And that's only day one.

Soon will come hours spent blueberry, blackberry, and tomato picking, enjoying family on the North Carolina shore, making life sized Scooby Doo monsters out of cardboard refrigerator boxes and tempera paint, Wyatt learning to type, handwriting practice for everyone (dear me, yes!), learning our books of the Bible, and even Wyatt excited to be starting piano lessons in two weeks.

And today?  We started out with a messy bang, the children beginning to make a Bumblebeeto piñata for our Skippyjon Jones themed Back to School party this upcoming August.
Yes, before noon on the first day of summer, six little hands were mother-approved to be stained purple, turquoise, and hot pink from making cards with stamps and then were covered with flour and water paste.  At one point, Emerson was wearing more paste than the newspaper coated strips placed on the piñata. It was messy.  It was also laughter in a bottle.

Long before the school doors shut for the academic year, this mother had created a bucket list that I have wondered just how we could squeeze it all into such a short period of time.

Maybe we won't.  Maybe, instead, we'll find another path of interest to pursue, some other craft project the children haven't dreamed up quite yet.

But whatever we do, it will be real living.  And it will be together as a family.

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