I love summertime and I also truly struggle with summertime.
I love BBQ’s, festive parties, July 4th fireworks, and eating outdoors.
I love that there’s no homework for my 3 kids (and me!).
I love the sunshine and warmth of Southern California.
I love seeing my kids swim and splash and play as if there were no better activity in life ever.
But I really struggle with the kids being out of school, home more, sometimes fighting more. And Ryan is definitely more anxious with the change in routine, and the decrease in day-filled structure.
The E-L-E-V-E-N weeks of summer is daunting, lets just be real here, for us special needs parents. If we are lucky to get four weeks of free half-day summer school, it certainly takes the edge off. I do remember when it used to be 6 weeks. Ahh…the good old days.
Filling up Ryan’s summer is expensive, whether I hire sitters, therapists, or send him to camps. Not to mention, I have two other kids. UGH! So at the same time I am relieved that summer is finally here, I’m also wincing a bit inside. And so is my wallet.
However, an “AHA moment” came to me just before school ended. To shift away from my fear or dread. I got a surge of hope and energy and intention. Ironically or not, it came after a silent moment of prayer and meditation. I am going to create a bucket list for my summer, for OUR summer: a list of things to do as a family that we will joyfully check off together. And it does not have to be expensive or extravagant or glamorous either, darnit, to count!
Here are some ideas:
- Visit 5 new places—which do not require plane rides or long road trips.
- Give my kids disposable cameras for the summer and make an album of their shots.
- Sleep in tents in the backyard. (And of course, bring the aero-bed out for Chris and I.)
- Get a fire-pit—find a deal, or beg, borrow or steal. Ok, not that last one.
- Have movie nights with friends in our garage/playroom. Invite different families each time.
- Taste something new or try some new healthy recipes that the kids will absolutely love (at least I hope).
I encourage you to do the same. Make it fun. Reconnect with friends and families. Set some easy goals. Have an adventure.
Be the nice, calm referee when your kids have had too much sibling togetherness, and figure out how to give THEM A BREAK from each other. Let your kids get dirty and sandy. I should do this as well. Often.
And if any of the above still sounds daunting or too much work or effort, call another mom/parent, and go for it together. Make your bucket lists together. I’m much more brave to get out of my comfort zone (even a trip to the beach), if I have another mom with me. There is power and empowerment in parental numbers.
Go and LOVE your summer of 2012!