It’s August, and it seems like school just ended for the summer last week. Where did the summer go? Perhaps the late winter-like weather delayed that summer-fun feeling. Playing outside later, flip-flops, sunscreen, Saturday night racing, mosquito bites, painted toenails, hiking, fishing, swimming, camping—soon to be replaced by school supplies, teacher meetings, assemblies, earlier bedtimes, earlier rise-and-shine times, check-ups, vaccinations, new clothes, schedules, IEP’s and homework.
Don’t get me wrong. My daughter enjoys school and I enjoy that part of the journey with her. But there is a joyful freedom that comes with summertime, a freedom to enjoy the outdoors more, freedom to play more, and freedom to be who they really are. I learn the most about Peanut when I am playing badminton with her, picking out the stars and planets on GoogleSky, or just sitting on the front steps watching her fly by with her friends on their scooters. I am amazed, as I always am, at how much she has changed in the few short months since school ended–taller, more self-sufficient, and more aware. Summer fun brings summer growth.
Summer is also a good time to regroup and recharge for a fresh start in August. Many children, my daughter included, develop a before-school anxiety, and this is a good time to reassure them and plan for the successful start of the next grade. Teachers are busy with their own preparations for school, but a quick meet-the-teacher before that first day could alleviate some apprehension and allow any special needs to be discussed before the first-day rush. EpiPens, medications, diabetes supplies and what-you-need-to-know-about-my-child information for the school should be ready before school starts. Starting now on a little earlier bedtime and earlier waking time can make the first day a bit easier as well. In addition, it is a good time to set up the homework area, making sure it is stocked with needed items—pencils, crayons, laptop, paper, books, glue, and favorite snack food.
The bathing suits, camping supplies and sandbox toys are on clearance, making way for the crayons, notebooks and locker accessories that have already invaded store shelves. School registration information, supply lists and open house schedules once again adorn my refrigerator, and my daughter giggles that this year she and I both have homework, so we should do it together. I am then informed that I cannot go outside to play until it’s done. Thanks, Peanut. Glad you’ve been listening.
But I am not letting go of summer just yet. There is plenty yet to do and time left to do it. Perhaps it’s time for a new end-of-summer ritual. This year my daughter has some things she wants to put into a summer scrapbook. As for me, I am going cling to the warm sunshine, sidewalk chalk, giggling kids in my yard and muddy prints tiptoeing through my kitchen.