We're just finishing the second full week of summer vacation, and the first week without any outside activities except for a couple of softball games. It kind of reminds me of when my husband says something like, "I spent a month in Podunk, Nevada, one weekend."
Has it really been only two weeks of summer? It sounds like most of the people out in Bloggetyville are faring better than I am with this. Kids are building teepees, creating scrapbooks from homemade cameras, recreating Gettysburg, or wrangling cattle at the crack of down. Why don't I ever read about the kids who tease and bicker with their siblings all day? Why don't I read
about kids whose only goal for the summer is to beat the next level on their video games? Who feel the need to eat a meal every two hours? Who then proceed to cook that meal and leave the kitchen looking like. . . a recreation of the Battle of Gettysburg.
On Wednesday, I told my two kids that they had no choice, they were going to
** edited to add: my kids are 12 and 15. I wouldn't suggest doing this with 5-year-olds, though you might be tempted!
You would think I'd told them to wash the driveway with a toothbrush. They whined and moaned and complained, but to no avail. I thought to myself, I don't care if they ride down to the corner and just sit there for an hour, I want them out of the house!
They asked if they could stop and go out to lunch somewhere. Whaa-at?
Finally, I got them out the door so I could
I don't even know why I'm asking you this . . .
We're-at-the-pet-shop-and-they-have-kittens-up-for-adoption-and-. . .
I told you. . . (this to Luke as she was hanging up the phone.)
About 20 minutes later, they got home. They came in the door, laughing, and with twice as much energy as they had when they left, even though they insisted it was so hot that "they thought they would die."
The next day I substituted some chores for the bike ride. And, oddly enough, today they both came up with something to do on their own.
I know my brothers and I must have driven my mother nuts during the summer. There was a reason that she hung the American flag on the first day of the school year, in celebration. But honestly, we were more creative in those days, coming up with things to do. We lived in a neighborhood full of kids. And none of us was allowed to play in the house! We had breakfast and it was "good-bye" until lunchtime (which consisted of a permanent menu of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Kool-ade). There were plenty of places to roam, and when it became beastly hot, we were "lucky" that one of the families on the block had a big garage and Mrs. Gottschall would let us set up all our Barbie things inside and we'd create a town and play all afternoon. To us, it was as good as air conditioning. We just had to make sure we cleaned everything up at the end of the day so that Mr. Gottschall could park his car.
My brothers took to making their own fun, using car inner tubes (I wonder where they got them?) to float down the irrigation ditch near our house. They made it sound like so much fun, so I went along one time. ONE time. The water was muddy brown, the horse flies were as big as chipmunks, and the rope swing they told so many stories about hung over a big mud slide. No wonder my mom insisted they go "commando" and wear only their oldest shorts. She could never bleach their underwear clean again.
We took old sheets and made a tent in the backyard. It even had a flag pole to fly the American flag. My dad dubbed the place Camp Run-amok. One summer he took some soup cans and set them in the lawn, and we had our own miniature golf course. We signed up for the library reading program every summer. Unlike the programs today, where there are tiers of prizes that include passes to the swimming pool and coupons for ice cream, our "prize" was a certificate and our own American flag. We would make a trip to the library at least once a week, walking or taking our bikes, to get a new armload of books.
It sounds like we were a bunch of hooligans, compared to the kids nowadays. But we made our own fun because if we used the "B" word (bored), we were given jobs to do, something we dreaded and I'm sure my mother dreaded even more.
And those summers really didn't last all that long, because by the time we were in our teens, we were all working. I babysat as early as I could and then worked at Dairy Queen. My brothers all worked for the local lumber yard. And before we knew it the summer had flown by, and it was time for school to begin. And we always welcomed it when it did.