So far this summer is turning out to be a bust. For one thing, the weather sucks. Rainy, grey, drizzly - kind of like most of the rest of the year around Seattle! :) No big surprise, really, since our "summer" weather often doesn't start until after the 4th of July (and we are usually guaranteed a drizzly 4th as well). But, with a lack of lots of summer plans, it just feels like the rest of the year, only I'm off work.
Sure, you say, who would complain about that? I'm not - I LOVE having this time off. But, usually our summer is packed with camping trips, road trips, VBS, day camp, and lots of day trips and adventures. For some reason, this year, we just don't have too many plans. One road trip, day camp for two of the kids, a trip to CA for another, a summer job for the oldest. Tomorrow is Jeff's birthday, then the 4th, then Hayley's birthday following right after. It's a big birthday week! And we have small plans. A little get-together for Jeff, absolutely no plans for the 4th, and nothing as of yet for Hayley, since she's undecided.
Gone are the days when I spent weeks planning a fun summer birthday party for my oldest girl. Princesses and pink and fancy themes defined each and every birthday. But even that fizzles out over time in favor of more grown-up pursuits. It drove me nuts to walk past the 4th of July displays in the craft store yesterday knowing that I have not even put up a single patriotic decoration around the house, nor do I have anywhere to take that cool patriotic fruit platter I saw on Pinterest.
This time is golden - all those times during the school year when I was up to my eyeballs in busy, when I wished I had just an hour to organize my photos, or scrapbook, or craft, or clean the bathroom properly, or write a book, or hone my photography skills - this is that time I wished for! And yet, now that I'm blessed with hours upon hours of unscheduled time, I find myself scrambling to get motivated; to decide how to spend it, to maximize it because I know it's finite.
Gone are the summers when I had a passel of kids to care for, and I made homemade popsicles in Tupperware molds, and carefully planned an outing to a beach or park each day. Now it's like pulling teeth to get my teenagers up before the crack of noon, much less motivated or excited to do anything planned or structured or requiring the energy to actually put clothing and sunscreen on. Not that we really need the sunscreen.......oh yeah, we covered that already.
So, I find myself wanting to just do things for me - do what I like and what I want, when I want it. And yet, I still find myself limiting my "wants" and using "kids" as an excuse, as though by simply being a mother I am somehow limited. Oh, sure, it's not like I have the time and money to jet off to some tropical locale, or sit in a villa in Italy eating pasta, or take a spiritual journey to a peaceful country where I wander barefoot wearing gauzy dresses. But that doesn't mean I can't browse the shopping center I never get a chance to go to, or go see an outdoor concert that sounds interesting, or take advantage of an online discount ticket to a show I've been wanting to see.
Still, I hesitate. Because I want to share these things - with my husband, with my kids, with a friend. With someone. I like being alone, but I don't like doing things alone. I find I spend all my time thinking "the kids would love this" or "Jeff would think this was so cool". And no amount of cellphone pictures can do it justice. So, I keep trying to organize, to schedule, to find time to squeeze in quality family time, memory-makers, with kids' visitation schedules, and play practice, and camp schedules. I love me a lazy summer day as much as the next person, but I find myself restless and bored after too many of them. I want to DO something but I don't know what.
In the meantime there's laundry to fold, and that bathroom to clean. But who wants to do that? I want a summer adventure like no other. I want to end the summer knowing we squeezed every last drop of sunny goodness out of it (once we get sun, anyway!). I want a long, lazy road trip full of mishaps and hilarious moments. I want some camping, some hiking, some adventures in the woods. I want a group bike ride, a day without being glued to the computer, and iPads and cell phones, time outdoors and barbeques on the deck, and fires in the fire pit with s'mores and bare feet and citronella candles burning.
Ahhh.......summer! Where are you?