Memorial Day weekend is the traditional gateway to summer for children.
Even though they still have a few weeks left of school, their minds are already far removed from the classroom with visions of sleeping in, swimming, dripping ice cream cones and late sunsets that allow them to play outside far past their school year bedtimes.
I remember that feeling like it was yesterday, and even though as parents we never really get a “summer break,” we do get a break from some of the duties we have during the school year.
For example, I can’t wait to say good-bye to forms. It seems like during the school year there is an endless stream of forms that we need to fill out for our children from permission slips to updating medical information to enrollment forms for this or that. And they are always buried in the bottom of an email with an urgent message to turn them in the very next day.
I am also looking forward to not packing lunches, a ritual that I used to perform at night, but then got slack about half-way through the school year and ended up packing them in the morning along with the last minute forms I needed to fill out.
But the best part of summer is the anticipation we see in the eyes of our children wearied from months of scheduling. Sure, most kids will have some form of scheduling in the summertime — swim team, camps, play dates — but for the most part, summer is, and should be, a time of exploration.
It is only in the unscheduled times that we have enough space to really be creative and explore new things. And the only time we really get this kind of space in our lives is as children in the summer months.
Summer is a magical time for kids when lazy mornings give way to sunny afternoons at the pool and warm southern nights filled with the sounds of cicadas and laughter as neighborhood children swallow the last bit of day before the lightning bugs appear.
It is a time to rest, a time to breathe and a time to explore…
Amanda Lamb is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including three on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.