Every once in a while, depending on which way the wind is blowing I can actually hear the bell from our local school ring. Last week, on the last day of school I heard it ring while working out on the back deck, and although I am sure I was imagining it, I am convinced I also heard the roaring cheers from staff and students that summer vacation was finally here.
On my own back deck, I also quietly celebrated. Not because I knew that we would no longer need to pack two lunches every day (because let’s be honest, more often than not the kids eat more during the summer than they do at school) but because for the first time in three years – staff and students made it through the entire year without being forced to go online.
Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely understood the need for it – but I know my own kids (and their teachers) have been so much happier being face-to-face inside the classroom. Both of my children are very social beings, and getting to witness the ups and downs of childhood with them has been both amazing and difficult because as much as I want to step in and “fix” the things that hurt their hearts, I know they need to navigate those things themselves.
Seeing the connections they have created with their teachers and the wonderful new friendships that they’ve created over the last school year has melted my heart. Getting to expand my own “village” has been a definite perk of those friendships too, because without my village, I am not sure I would have made it through what has been a particularly challenging few months.
As much as we all appreciate the routine that comes along with the school year, I know everyone in our household is ready for a break from that routine - and ready for some new adventures. As a family, we are looking forward to the “lazy days of summer” ahead (at least for the kids). They’ve already started sleeping in a bit later – and not having to worry about catching the bus has been a blessing. They stay in their pyjamas late, eat pancakes for breakfast rather than soggy cereal and plot out what sandy mess they’re going to make that afternoon – and they are really hoping the fire ban up north is lifted soon so they can make some gooey s'mores over the fire at night.
My eldest has spent the better part of the last week in the lake swimming, a place I am pretty sure she plans to be until she’s dragged out for the first day of school in the fall, and they have dusted off our giant pile of board games in preparation for when I get to join them at the cottage on my upcoming vacation. I may even get around to reading one of the many, many, many books I have stockpiled over the last year in hopes of some downtime to catch up on my reading.
Even though I haven’t been in school for a bajillion years I still feel that awesome feeling of freedom when I look at the calendar and realize school is over and summer is here, and with it some much-needed quality family time.
If anyone needs me this summer, I can be found floating on a giant blow-up loon in the middle of the lake with one of my books.