When I think back to childhood memories, my favorite ones are in the summer time. I remember riding bikes on dirt roads, climbing trees at my grandparents’ house, showing horses in 4-H, swimming wherever we could, and playing all kinds of ball. We ran around our small little town like it was our own personal playground. Summer was friends. Summer was music. Summer was snow cones. Summer was awesome. So now, with my kids, I realize I try to summer with them so that they, too, have these memories to keep them company as they age.
As a teacher from a family of teachers, summer has always been sacred. Now that I am a mom and a teacher, I know that I use this time of year to recharge, and I do that by surrounding myself with my family. I think if you asked my children about my level of stress or level of sanity, they would definitely agree that I’m more fun in this time of sun and laughter. My teacher friends and I like to say “We can summer like nobody’s business.” And by that we do not mean extravagant vacations; week long camps for our kids; or a vacation house somewhere. We mean we play, and we play hard.
Our June does have its fair share of sports camps. I love being able to take my children to a sporting event and watch them have fun. The camps facilitated by my high school are phenomenal. I get to see my students taking on leadership roles, and my children developing a desire to succeed and work hard like their teenage role models. Our nights are filled with baseball practices and games. Another important part of our summer is swimming. Most of my co-workers and I don’t have windows in our classrooms, so I never feel like we can get enough sun (with proper sunscreen obviously). I love to soak up the sun in our backyard, swimming pools, water parks, splash pads, lakes, and hydrant parties. We play hard in June.
One of the ways my family summers is by exploring. During our sojourn from school, my children and I explore our city in many ways. Our metro area offers up many fun options, and while it doesn’t have the back roads and empty streets of my small town, it has culture and art coming out of its ears. Most of what we can find in our city is free to the public or available at a small price. We love to attend the Summer Arts Festival, concerts by the riverfront, and the various farmer’s markets make this time of year so colorful and fun. We also get out on the lake for fishing competitions. Our family takes this as seriously as a Wii bowling tourney in our basement. We don’t care what age you are, if you want to compete you go all out. My middle guy wins our fishing tournaments nine times out of ten, and he is 8-years-old.
The Fourth of July is bittersweet. It means the end of summer is near for us, but it is also our absolute favorite holiday. When my kids think back to their childhood, I’m almost certain that the Fourth will be in their catalog as some of the best times of their lives. Our neighbors are our second family, and when we all get together the grills and the laughter come out, and the fireworks at about 10 pm are majestic. We all wake up smelling like firework residue and S’mores. My children giggle with anticipation every year for this patriotic holiday. The food is also the best part. The BBQ’s won’t quit. This year, my friend Kim and I decided we are trying a hot dog bar. Email email@example.com if you are interested in learning about what that looks like.
As I reflect on the happy times of my childhood, summertime fun is always at the forefront. It’s not because of extravagant vacations or hotel stays, it’s because of our time together. I always feel guilty that I can never accompany my children on their school field trips, but I do remind them that in the summer, we are on one big field trip. I know my children aren’t experiencing the same kind of small town upbringing that I had, but I think that’s okay. In the summer, I get to focus just on them and their happiness. It’s a time to relax, giggle, and play in the sun. My summertime mom thing is just that: family. Let the fun begin!