We are down to our last week of summer vacation already, and I started reflecting back on this summer compared to summers past.
In summers past, we packed up our cooler and beach bags and headed out to our local community pool where we would spend the majority of our days from open until close. We would have lunch and dinner there almost every day, and it was actually fun because lots of other families did the same, so there would be a huge community all grilling and eating dinner under the pavillion. Sometime we would all bring something and have a big pot luck. During the day when the kids got too tired they could grab a shady spot under a tree and relax with a book for a bit.
Last summer was a little different with an infant. We avoided the super hot days, and generally only stayed through one meal, not both. There were days when I dropped the older kids off or they got a ride with a local friend for a few hours of pool time. There also seemed to be less and less families there on a regular basis, so when there wasn't a big group of kids to hang out with, they really had no interest in being there. My teenager had started having girl issue, where a week out of the month she couldn't swim, and drama would ensue.
This summer we had just moved as the summer started. I really wanted to be able to join a local pool near our new home, but the affordable one had a 3 year waiting list, and the one we could get into was really expensive your first year and I just couldn't make it work. We decided to stay at our pool in our old neighborhood, because even though it was over a half hour away, it was affordable. But the weather stayed pretty cool early on, and the kids fell in love with our basement. It's big and finished, and we put a sleeper sofa down there with a TV, and it has become their hangout. The beg to sleep down there every night. The play hide and seek in the dark, build forts, and just generally hang out together. They love it. They find so much to do, and have rediscovered a lot of their old games and toys that they finally have space to play.
In the evenings when the weather cools down they have been going on long walks or bike rides exploring the area. They found a close playground, and all 3 of the older ones will go out together until it is past dark just being kids. They found an old fire pit left by the previous family, so we go out and make s'mores. It feels like a simpler time, and has provided them the down time they desperately need. I let them be lazy watching TV or using their Ipods because we have strict rules about TV and electronics during the school year. We have been to the pool, but it hasn't been as fun for them this year; they would rather be home. The pool community is changing, and unfortunately unless you are on the swim team, you kind of feel like an outsider. And most of those kids who have to be there early for practice don't want to be there once the pool opens, so it becomes a ghost town. Many of the older kids have moved on to have jobs or lifeguard, so my teen is left out. She is a few months too young to get a job there just yet. We have also been to local parks, water parks, had a fabulous week-long vacation where we packed in so much, and peach picking.
But we have sort of found a groove that has been relaxing and stress free. I don't really here the kids saying they are bored, or begging to do something. And I feel that is they way summers should be. So that they feel rested and rejuvenated for the crazy pace of the school year, which starts all too soon.