I love summer.
Sunny mornings, reading in bed until I was getting really hungry, then going outside to pick fresh strawberries, peaches and raspberries, chatting with friends, reading some more, biking to a nearby lake for swims, reading and writing until it was late and so beautifully quiet. A sample of how my summers used to be when I was younger. I was free. Free to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it – chores excluded, since helping around the house was also part of the summer routine, but somehow it fit in nicely. No summer camps unless I felt like it. I missed those summers so much I decided to bring them back.
How? Well, for starters, I decided to let my boys go camp-free this summer – they wholeheartedly agree – except for a couple of days of Boy Scouts’ camp which sounded too good to resist. So there is no rush in the morning, no arguing about wanting to go somewhere but having to go somewhere else. We go places if we so desire and best of all, we pick the places we want to go to. Like Fraser river banks today, for example. We explored the banks, the boys played for hours enjoying a different kind of beach than the ocean beach, I got to read and write some. Perfection. And that does not even describe it. The summer days I missed are back. And they are better since I can share the joy with my boys. And you may be asking if every day will be packed with wow day trips and activities. Far from it. Free summer recipe calls for a bit of laziness too. Lazy days when we choose to do almost nothing.
Is this unstructured summer thing going to get my boys used to choosing rather than accepting what’s on schedule? It might, but I do not consider that a bad thing at all. Giving them a taste of freedom, that is. The free summer is, in my opinion, one amazing not-to-be-missed experience. Letting go of ‘have to” leaves a lot of room for doing what one is passionate about. And includes lots of reading, creating magic potions and learning about science, finding bugs and various interesting things that spark great conversations, drawing and painting. After a long day outside doing what they feel like it and inventing games – no concerns about creativity being hindered in any way – my boys read a lot not because they have to but because it feels good to end the day reading. And then there is something else – magic would be the right word to define it. After a few days inventing games and playing until they run out of energy – slight exaggeration – the bonding between my boys needs no work from me. It just happens. I take it that’s also part of doing the things they love when they feel like it. Such as hanging out long enough to learn likes and dislikes, to build that special bond all parenting books are trying hard to describe. simply put, they are enjoying each other’s company. and their playing together creates those precious reading and writing pockets for me. And while my life still includes writing assignments and deadlines and there is no way I can take a whole summer off, I will still enjoy a few great days of freedom with my boys.
Yes, free summer days are definitely the way to go. Try it for a few days and say it isn’t so…I dare you!