Friday, May 23, 2014

saving summer vs selling summer

Remember the old stand by in school when you were tasked with writing about what you did over the summer? I grew up in a nest of ideal, old-fashioned summers filled with swimming in a lake, water skiing, goofing around in a two- kid sailboat, lying in the grass on the hill at the back of our house reading til the fireflies came out, and watching summer storms while eating a Popsicle from the comfort of a lawn chair on the front porch. My mom was the the Kool aid mom and we owned the spare lot with the perpetual baseball game. It was an idealistic time of long, unscheduled days of humid summer... but the years were short.

 My brothers and I never went to morning classes of any kind, much less a camp. My Mum was the camp, providing snacks and a watchful eye from her crows nest at the kitchen window. Back in the days before seat belts and bike helmets, when running the streets of our neighborhoods freely was still PC, we kids had to be hunted down and corralled to go on day trips and excursions which always included collecting rocks for my Mum's rock garden. We tagged alongside my prim and proper British Mum as she stood her ground and bartered with the truck drivers at the local truck stop over the purchase of giant inner tubes as a chief form of entertainment for all the neighborhood kids swimming in the lake.  She was full of suggestions to fill voids of time - there was a grove of low lying bushes to build forts in and a vacant weekend house overgrown with lilac bushes that my little brother and I used for making our special lilac "perfume" concoctions. That was as close as we got to an organized science camp. The biggest expense my parents faced in terms of summer fun were the purchases of a few hoola hoops, those giant inner tubes, and enough cookies to feed a small army on a daily basis. A $200 camp for one week? Never.

 I can't recall ever being bored. The summer always drew to a close with the feeling of regret that there had not been enough time to do nothing. I've always felt that these summers were what taught me to be content with being alone with my thoughts, resourceful about conjuring up simple ways to be creative, and instilled a general sense of calm that has stayed with me as an adult. Looking back I realize that stressed, rushed, and over scheduled are never words I'd use to describe my childhood. I never want to associate those words with my children's life either.

However, as I said in a post on a favored camp a while back, I'm grateful that there are some amazing options offered nowadays to add interest to our children's summers. I could come up with some kitchen experiments to try with my boys, but when I compare this to a full blown chemistry class at Trident taught by an actual scientist in a real science lab I have to confess I would have loved that option as a kid! What kid wouldn't? I can hardly believe our luck that Trident is willing to open up their kitchens, labs, and classrooms to young children with big creative brains. (refer to the "Camp" button for more summer camp ideas)

Summer is big business nowadays but we still plan to hold on to our Popsicles, slip-n-slide, water balloons, and nerf guns as long as we possibly can because, after all, the number of summers left is fading faster than fireflies in a jar.

*this post dedicated to CAC, my summer partner in crime and master firefly catcher

1 comment:

  1. Great post Leigh! Where's the time machine?? I'm ready for a trip!