This morning I woke up to the imagined MEEP of my alarm clock at the usual preposterous hour of 5:15 am. I stretched, groaned, and then I remembered…
There were no lunches to make, or papers to sign. No groggy kids to warn, “The bus is coming. Let’s go!” Everyone was sleeping, and I could have been, too.
Still, I trudged downstairs, inspired to pound out some words as long as I was awake. In fact, I thought, the whole day should be spent writing if I’m to catch up on this article, and that blog post, and these revisions…
Then I looked at the kitchen table, and saw their hopeful pages.
Every June, my kids compile their “Summer Wish Lists.” For the most part, they’re realistic — no longer including things like, Take a trip around the world, or Get a Dog (which is totally not happening). Instead, they’re sprinkled with simple events and polite requests: See a baseball game, Host a family BBQ, Stay up late to look at the stars.
However, no matter the good intentions, there are always wishes left unfulfilled. The 12 weeks or less allotted to us each year speed by more quickly than we imagine. We blink, and it’s the Fourth of July. We blink again, and we’re battling crowds, hunting for black leather school shoes and the right kind of erasable pens.
But during the first week of vacation, those golden days of summer seem like they’ll never end. The magic of Summer Break slops molasses on the soles of a society too busy to stop and take a breath.
Even when I wasn’t teaching and didn’t have school schedules as a reminder, the change of season was obvious — and not just because the temperature can go from zero to ninety before you’ve had a chance to put away your snow boots. Life is more relaxed. People seem happier. You stay up a little later. Out a little longer. Excuses for extended tomfoolery begin with a grin and a shrug, and end with a, “Well, it’s summer!”
And that’s my excuse for making my own Wish List. It’s always the same, with only one item to check off with a nice pointy “X.”
Slow down, and enjoy.
Though I love having the kids home, this single wish is not always easy to manage. Not during the hours when I’m trying to make a deadline, and their eyes beg me to take them to the pool. Or the times when a new idea has to wait. And wait. And wait. Or on the days when words rub raw, and it’s clear that everyone could use some extended time alone.
I’m thankful, though, for the opportunity to give it my best shot. Time is marching on, and (almost inexplicably) my kids are getting older. The fact that most days everyone is content to spend time together is pretty amazing. That clock is ticking. And loudly.
So I put my work aside for the moment, read over their lists again, and think, What can we do together today? Because there’s no time like the present.
And, really, there’s no present like time.
What are your plans this summer? How does your schedule change? How do you find time to fit it all in?
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