Embracing 18 Summers

standard May 21, 2012 16 responses

I will be the first to admit that I laughed when Amy Foster, a Disney executive who spoke at the Disney Social Media Moms celebration, mentioned that all we get with each of our children is 18 summers.

I laughed and dismissed the comment that had jaws dropping all around me.

I mean, duh, we get 18 summers, but it’s not like the kids go away after that point. College students come home for the summer. Sometimes they even come home to live after college.

But the words kept bouncing around my head.

Then I did some math.

C just turned 7 this week. That means 11 summers are left until she goes to college.

11. Summers.

And what have we done with the last 7?

We’ve sent her to daycare or day camp, rendering the summer utterly indistinguishable from the rest of the school year. We still had to get up early. Still had to rush out of the house to get somewhere on time. Still had to follow a week/weekend schedule.

Now to be fair, until this summer, I had no choice. Employers rarely take too kindly to having moms let their kids run wild in the office all summer. But this year? This year I’m working from home, and there’s no good reason the kids can’t be having fun in the backyard while I plug away in my home office.

I don’t remember all of my summers, but I clearly remember the feeling of relief as June neared. The feeling that soon time would stretch into oblivion, that the days would be filled with just fun and imagination.

I want C and Little L to feel the freedom that endless summer days can bring. I want them to enjoy just playing and being outside, exploring, building, living their childish adventures to the fullest.

Some of my friends are horrified that I’m only signing them up for a week of camp this year. I’m a little scared myself to be losing hours of free work time every day. I’m not sure how I’ll manage to exercise daily. I’m not even sure they’ll have all that much fun.

But I’m willing to give them a chance.

I’m willing to say “go out and play and don’t come in until dinner.” I’m willing to give them more freedom than they’re used to. I’m willing to pretend they’re not going to make a beeline for the creek that now runs through our back yard. I’m willing to ignore messes, skinned knees, and any skirmish that emerges. I’m willing to forgo carefully structured days and activities. I’m willing to just let them be. All in the name of taking advantage of these last 11 summers.

Related Posts

16 responses

  • and now I realize I only have 3 more summers with the teen. Sob. Wonder if I can convince him to spend just a little time with us this summer.

  • You are speaking to my heart with this post. If only I didn’t have to work.

  • Holy crap! I never looked at it like that! Ahhh!

  • As two working parents, are summers blend with the rest of the year. But we do like to take a trip to the beach. We’re leaving this Friday for 5 nights of uninterrupted family time. I cannot wait! We haven’t had a full week off since last June.

  • Oh girl. I totally get this! All of it! We don’t have money for camp for our kids but they spend a lot of time with other family throughout the summer which for me is good enough. We have to do with what we have. 🙂

  • This year, instead of Summer, we are planning a really amazing spring break vacation. I don’t think it has to be summer. I just think it has to be.

  • Ok, so that means I have 16 summers with my son and like you 11 more summers with my daughter! However, I must say that we have and will continue to make the most of them and hopefully based on that they will continue to spend their summers with us 😉 We are not doing camp, never have. We usually play it by ear.

  • I love that you are spending the summer with your kids, though some of my favorite memories are from my summers at camp. I do hope it’s the same for my kids some day.

  • Such and awesome way to look at this and make the most of every moment! Thanks I needed to read this.

  • 4 summers left…this makes me really happy that I’ve always focused on making my daughter’s summers a lot of fun, even when I was working. 🙂

  • This hits me hard…I never think of it like that at all.

  • Hey Jessica – I was researching something for my post on the same thing and found yours, which made me happy as the whole 18 summers thing really stuck with me and I love how you put it!

  • Yes. Yes. Yes. I signed Julian up for camp every single week back in January and now I regret it. I want him to have time to be bored!

  • It all passes so fast. I love summer and hope to pass the joy of that on to my kids. But it’s not even 18. 14-18 I barely saw my parents in the summer.

  • Anonymous

    My older brother and I talk about how times have just changed. We used to “go out and play and not come home until dinner,” but nowadays, the social order in neighborhoods seems to be that you must *take your kids to the park* (as opposed to just letting them go!). To be clear, I would not just let my kids go to the park, but it does make me feel like my kids aren’t getting a chance to learn certain skills, and I don’t know what we do to replace those experiences.

    Anyhow, I’m sure your kids are going to have a great summer, and I think you’ll have a great time watching them and being with them.

  • Eye opening post, thank you!!

  • Leave a Response

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *