Last week, my two eldest children were gifted with the news of an additional summer vacation day. The superintendent of the school district canceled the last scheduled day, the reasons for which takes me away from the story. The point is, my kids were gifted with another day of vacation.
Youth certainly is spoiled upon the young. I can say that now on account of being old. I feel old. Because, I can’t help but think what I would do with two months off from my responsibilities here. So, I asked the kids on the way to school today, what they looked forward to most about the upcoming summer vacation.
My 11-year-old son responded immediately with, “summer camp.” He and his sister have been going to one of the local day camps here for the past few years, and has a network of friends he looks forward to seeing. Just this morning, he was putting together a deck of Magic: The Gathering cards in anticipation for the countless battles he’ll share over a picnic table.
My eight-year-old daughter just as quickly answered with Zoom Flume. Naming something that calls for more physical activity is of no surprise to me. She’s a bundle of energy that leaves her parents and grandparents scratching their heads.
While I was their age, my summer vacations were not too far off from their own. My two prized possessions were my bicycle and my baseball mitt, and hardly a day went by that I didn’t ride to the local schoolyard to meet up with friends for a game. And, lately, I find myself itching for a good game of dice baseball, just as I would play when it rained outside.
Unstructured free time is just as important for parents as it is for children. Too many weekends are spent feeling obligated to catch up on the job, or do more things around the house. (Though, I admit to driving my wife crazy with my apathy towards gardening. Here’s a hint — I don’t like it.) Though some people enjoy, and need, structure, giving yourself a chance to let your mind wonder is healthy. Don’t feel guilty if you want to sit on the porch and read a book. If you’re thinking about it, it’s brain telling you it needs a break.
I know some parents are complaining over the revised start of the district’s vacation schedule. As an adult with obligations and responsibilities, I say “phtttttt!” (That’s a raspberry.) It’s time you pick up the swimsuit, hit the water park and have a little fun. If you’re too wrapped up in the daily activities that draw you away from the family, you need to rethink your priorities.
At least for a day.
Your bills were due a few days ago.