Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Today We Had Summer

It's silly to say, when we've had bbq's and trips to the pool, park and mall, that today was the first day of summer.  I don't mean it by the calendar, or by some official date according to someone.  But today, was the first day, where the schedule did not rule over us or harangue us for not following one.  
We ate breakfast and I impulsively put a lock on the television.  So the kids played "school" and spent the morning creating a whole world with rules and goals, tasks and by lunch, they'd forgotten the machines that seemed so important in the morning.  

After lunch, I saw them go back to old habits, reaching for the Wii or the computer.  "Let's wash the car." I suggested.   Six kids scrambled to change into swimsuits, while the other three opted for reading books.  Sitting outside with a diet coke, I watched and played referee to maintain fairness with the two hoses.  

They spent two hours spraying the car and each other.

Drinks and ice cream, and the day seemed to still hold within it, endless promise.  There were still tasks to do, I folded laundry, we organized the closet, I paid a bill and arranged for tables and chairs to be ordered for the party.  We filled out job applications and a financial aid form for a college.

We still have band camp and exercise and the rosary to go, but the day feels able to hold it in a way yesterday, it didn't.  I couldn't tell you what we did yesterday. It sped by.  I know I took a child to the mall to buy an outfit, and I know I tried to write (and failed), but everything felt rushed and crunched. I could point to nothing at the end of the day that revealed a moment that one could hold as a memory.  

Sitting outside with chocolate ice cream and making chalk drawings on the driveway, felt like a perfect summer moment.  My daughter who originally refused to change into a swim suit, came in dripping, "Mommy, look how wet I got." Her smile stretched to the horizon.  

It's perfect even if it isn't perfect.  Because the kids eventually return again to the screens only to discover it's locked.  "But we'll be bored...."  they start.

"Yes."  I looked up from my book.

They don't understand. What they're really asking, is "Entertain me."

I want them to get to the point in summer, they create their own fun as a matter of course.  They can't do that without going through the dullness of boredom.  One begins creating a fairy house out of mowed grass and sticks.  Another begins to color.  A third opts to make cupcakes for dessert, and a fourth practices her bells.   One goes running.  Another draws a video.  Those left, began playing with toys in the basement.   They didn't need screens.  They didn't need entertainment.  They needed time and opportunity and the desire to act.  TV and phones and kindles and computers, blunted that desire to try and ate time.  

Welcome to summer.   And because I love them and want summer to stretch out as long as possible, tomorrow, I'm locking the Wi-fi.  

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