As we head toward our first day back at school on Tuesday, everyone we see asks, “How was your summer? Are you ready for school to start?” My answer is always, “We had a great summer, but it went way too fast! I don’t want school to start; I am not ready to leave summer!” I am telling the truth, sort of. I don’t want school to start. I do feel summer went too fast. We did have a lot of fun experiences. The whole truth, however, is hidden in what I don’t say.
The words I say (and the way I say them) might give the listener the impression that I am a great mother, a mother who not only loves her children, but loves being with them! A mother who has it all together, who planned and coordinated such a wonderful summer that she doesn’t want the party to end.
To tell you the truth, the reason I don’t want summer to end is because I need more time to get our summer “right.”
Back in spring, I had an image of how the summer with my three boys would be. I would limit each of them to two weeks of camp so that we would would have lots of weeks to do . . . oh, who knows what. We would have lazy days, where we would stay in our pajamas for as long as we want. We would go on adventures, day trips to the beach, the museum, the cool playground where they can build things with real wood and nails. We would take walks around the neighborhood after dinner, maybe walk downtown to get a treat. We would have fun, and most importantly, we would have that fun together, enjoying each others company.
Our summer did not look like that. The 11- and 10-year old sons fought every single day about something. The six-year old son entered a phase where he’d scream anytime he wasn’t happy about a situation. All three boys got up early every morning and tried to sneak in some screen time on TV or iPads, so each day started out with me
yelling at telling them to turn off the TV or get off the iPad – “We’re not going to spend the summer in front of a screen!”
On top of all that, we were too busy. One son had tutoring sessions several times a week. I spent way too many hours working in a volunteer role I’d taken on for our school district. We didn’t have enough time to do nothing.
And so, I am not ready for school to start. Not because I am a great mom, but rather, because I am an imperfect mom who had a summer dream that she didn’t make real. I am not ready for summer to end because I believe, if only I had a few more weeks, I could salvage that dream and make our summer what I wanted it to be.
Despite my fighting it tooth and nail, however, summer is ending. Ready or not, school is starting on Tuesday. I can only embrace the return of the structure of the school day, week, trimester, and year, and I will look toward next summer. Next summer, I will get it right!