By: Revanche

Adieu, summer

August 2, 2017

Summer's waning, what's next?

Right around August 1st, my Spidey sense starts tingling.

It’s Lammas, the first harvest.

For those of us who don’t live by the agricultural calendar, the beginning of the end of summer. Our leaves don’t turn until late September, so the change is just a scent in the air. The heat starts to taper off, with a few days of heat spikes to remind us of summer’s punch, a memory for next year.

Labor Day approacheth! Mingled anticipation and dread! I wouldn’t mind the slide into fall, but for 12 years, saying good-bye to summer was immediately followed by the start of a new school year.

Despite having been out of school well over a decade, a little knot the size of a peach pit still forms in my stomach, leavened only with my love for back to school sales. My peach pit bounces around to the time of “new packs of college ruled paper! New colorful paper folders for a penny!”

Back in the day, my summers weren’t any great shakes, just great long stretches of being out of school. Most were spent at work with Mom, being tutored or running the cash register at their business. One unusual summer, there was summer school which was both incredibly scary and great fun. On the one hand, I hated having to meet new people for a short class. On the other hand, in our science class, we learned to make ice cream with just salt, milk, and ice. Who doesn’t get excited over practical science? #nerd

That enrichment was short-lived, though. We didn’t have money for real summer camp and our school district couldn’t afford real summer programs.

My working-summer theme continued into high school, the more fool me. I worked minimum wage jobs to save for extracurriculars. I was so proud to pay for all my own expenses in senior year. In hindsight, it’s a shame I didn’t ever take advantage of that summer time to be frivolous because there weren’t many of those worry-free summers left for me. As a fully fledged working adult, summer sneaks right on past.

Summers during college were full of overtime. It was also the only time I got a bit of sleep since my reward for working 60+ hours a week was not taking classes for that one quarter of the year.

Summer now? We hardly notice when it starts, except when my teacher friends start attending graduations and then we have Comic Con each year.

I don’t want our summers, and years, to slip through our fingers unnoticed. Most of the time we do well enough staying present in the moment but it’s too easy to take it all for granted as we’re preoccupied with work, school, and growing up.

In a few very short years, JuggerBaby will start school. We’ll have to start making arrangements for JuggerBaby when school is out. Maybe one of my shorter term goals needs to be setting myself up for having half days in the summers so ze and I can enjoy the summer time together. My work is more flexible than PiC’s in that way but who knows, maybe he can arrange something like that too.

It’s never too soon to start brainstorming for that future.

Do we aim to take summers off and do long road trips? That could be hard with an aging Seamus. Right now, he’s usually game for a couple of trips. I can’t tell where JB’s patience levels would be with long stretches in the car.

Do we put zir in day camp and tutoring for half the summer? That’s definitely expensive and time consuming (tuition, commuting), but if there are good educational and fun programs, it could be worth it.

Do I tutor zir in languages and spend our free time playing at the park? (Mother, exercise your patience.)

These are all possibilities.

I’m curious what PiC will want our summers to look like as we go on. I’m guessing it’ll include more home improvement projects than either of us are fully committed to, though.

:: What were your childhood summers like? What do you do now to enjoy summer? Do you love the onset of fall or summer best?


16 Responses to “Adieu, summer”

  1. Sense says:

    summersummersummersummer! I live for summer. Fall is only good for bringing out boots, cords, and cozy sweaters and admiring leaf changes, otherwise, I have no use for the other seasons.

    In my youth, my childhood summers could have been used better. I was mostly bored, stuck in the country, entertaining myself and my sister inside the house because East Coast summers are 100+F, horribly humid, and there were just awful ticks and mosquitoes attacking us whenever we went outside. I honestly do not remember how I passed the time while at home, other than reading books and watching television. Sometimes we went to my grandma’s house (she had a pool).

    One week of the summer we had Bible School at church. Another two weeks were spent with my grandparents up north. Another week was spent with my grandma on my dad’s side, in her trailer by a lake (“the camper”). My mom and dad usually took our time away to paint our rooms or do other house projects.

    Sometimes my mom would take us to the beach for a week-long getaway. It was always supposed to be a family vacation but Dad hardly ever took the time off to come with us. When he did, he was always pretty grumpy. A few times I went away to a Christian girls camp.

    The best part of summer was when we visited my grandparents’ house up north. There, it got cool enough during the night to open our windows, but was hot enough for swimming during the day. I don’t remember being bitten by ticks or mosquitoes much there. They lived in a little town where kids pretty much ran around by themselves, but everyone knew who everyone else was so they were always safe. My grandma played the organ at the main church and my grandpa was assistant pastor, so we were considered part of the town whenever we visited. There was a creek near their house to explore and swim in, a pool and playground up a big hill to go to, a library within walking distance, and little corner store with cool things to buy (friendship bracelet string was my fave–got every color!!), kids of all ages in the neighborhood to play with, and board games and skates and bikes in the garage to use at our will. We’d come back after playing outside all day with friends to help my grandma make dinner. During dinner, Grandpa would make up magical stories that would hold us in thrall, with cliffhangers until the next night. Sometimes after dinner, we’d go deer-spotting with him in his truck, buying homemade ice cream from a little store on the way. Sometimes we went golfing with them, and got to drive the cart.

    It was perfect. If I had a kid, those are the kind of summers I’d want them to have.

  2. Sally says:

    I had a stay-at-home mom until I was 10, then my parents got divorced and she had to return to work. Those pre-10 summers mostly centered around the town pool. We had swimming lessons in the morning, and then she took us there to play in the afternoons. We also went on Saturdays and Sunday afternoons. That would have been in the late 70s/early 80s, and almost nobody had at-home AC in our town. The town pool was a big draw because it was a good way to cool off.

    After I was 10, summers mainly consisted of us kids being at home and not terribly supervised. We had indifferent babysitters for a year or two, and then my mother decided we were just as well off on our own. Plus it was less expensive. We watched a lot of television and my brothers played a lot of video games. It wasn’t bad, just rather dull. I was happy when I was old enough to start working. It was something to do.

    I don’t do a lot now to enjoy summer–I tend to be working a lot. I’m a freelancer, and one of my freelancer-colleagues takes an entire month off every year in the summer. I sometimes think that would be a nice thing to do. Or maybe take 2 weeks off each month and have them be family fun time.

    I don’t know if I’d want to do a whole summer off. I have a friend who’s a stay-at-home mom with 4 kids and who only had the older ones in day camp one week this year. She told me a couple of weeks ago that the summer was starting to get to her. She’s been taking them to science museums and other activity places once a week, and even planning and herding that much is getting to be too much. She’s ready for school to start. I remember feeling like summer was too long when I was a kid, so– in light of that and what my friend is experiencing now, I think that when my little one is bigger, we’ll probably do a good mix. Some day camps, some weeks home, maybe a trip or two. Lots of library trips. Pool time at the Y. Play dates with friends. All the good stuff. And when she’s big enough, maybe a 1-week sleep-away camp each year, during which my husband and I have a vacation for just the two of us.

    • Revanche says:

      You know, that’s a great point. Having to occupy the kids for days and weeks on end sounds exhausting. I think that makes a good argument for year round school with shorter, but still substantial time off four times a year or something along those lines. Bonus, if you can plan your vacations around it, you can avoid high season more often than not!

  3. Summer is awesome, but I’m ready for school to starts again. 🙂
    We’re having a lot of fun. However, it is a lot harder to be productive. I guess I got spoiled from having our kid in school. Next year, I’ll plan better and just take it easy in the summer.
    Heading to the swimming pool today. 105 degrees, so hot…!

  4. SP says:

    I love when daylight savings time ends, but i love the fall more.

    My young childhood summers were days at home with the babysitter and generally lots of activities throughout summer – day camps (and later, overnight camps a handful of times), bible school, language classes, educational enrichment programs (I took math / computer classes for fun, at my request), swimming lessons, art classes (so much bad kid art). It was more of a fun approach doing a bit of everything and anything rather than focusing on developing any specific skill. For example, I took different language classes each summer of trying to learn one (until high school), so can mostly just count to 10 in several languages. 🙂 But we had fun. In my older years, it was summer jobs and time with friends.
    SP recently posted…Homeownership, 3 years inMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I think JuggerBaby is going to learn to count to ten in multiple languages, and say thank you and/or you’re welcome. We may not make it further than that 🙂

  5. My mother was a stay-at-home mom, and our summers were filled with activities that were both fun and educational. She often wound up escorting a pack of kids to the pool or the beach or into the District to visit museums and government offices (we lived in Maryland, not far from D.C.) We camped a lot on the weekends, and we had one big summer road trip (more camping) with a new itinerary every year. One year I spent a couple of weeks in a gifted creative writing summer program that I think was through my district.

    Now, Mr. Sandwich and I both work full-time and commute. Baguette is in a combination of summer camp and summer school; we also take one week of vacation right at the beginning of summer, because there is a one-week gap between the end of the school year and the start of her camp. We’d rather go on vacation a little later in the summer, but we have to cover that week somehow.

    School starts on August 15 for us, and that is startlingly soon.

    • Revanche says:

      August 15 is less than a week away! That’s way too soon.

      I would love to be able to do some of what your mom did. Feels like that would recapture some of that summer magic.

  6. Kristin says:

    Summers were such a delight growing up. It took a while to find a camp I enjoyed, but once we did (an arts camp run on a local community college campus), I went every year until I was 13. After that, it was largely hanging about with friends in our neighborhood and lifeguarding at our local beach for a few hours a day. Usually we’d go to Rhode Island and rent a house with my mother’s best friend for two weeks. The days seemed eternal and even as they were happening, I knew I’d miss them. Wish there was a way to recreate that now, but we, like you, are in the middle of a lot of home renovations, so I don’t think a relaxing summer will happen for us for a few more years.
    Kristin recently posted…A Perfect Vermont Weekend with MollyMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Does your mom and her best friend still get together for summers, or was that a thing you only did as kids? Because that’s a pretty awesome tradition.

  7. I always looked forward to summers as a kid, and then looked forward to going back to school by late July (because by then I’d already had my 2 weeks of summer camp, a family vacation, and was tired of long days at the local pool or lake.)

    Little Bit goes to a year-round school and I love it, although I miss pool afternoons. It’s crazy hot and humid in Central NC, and so having Little Bit in school for most of the summer but having 3 weeks off at the ends of May, August, November, and February is actually better for outdoor activities and road trips. On the other hand, she never has that boredom that tends to spark creativity, and can’t take advantage of a lot of summer enrichment activities.
    Emily @ JohnJaneDoe recently posted…State of the Blog: July 2017My Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I feel like I only felt bored when I didn’t have books to read or cousins to play with. The local library could keep me supplied for about 3-4 weeks but then I started having to range further for more books.

      I was wondering if year round school would make it easier as a parent – but you’re right, that means that the usual summer activities wouldn’t be available.

  8. My parents were both teachers, so we had summers together & it was fabulous. It also makes it hard for me to think about 12 weeks of camp for the boys. We got it down to 4 weeks this year, & I feel really good about that. We had, what I’d describe, as a fabulous but packed summer. School starts next week!
    Hawaii Planner recently posted…A no regrets summerMy Profile

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