When Summer Feels Like Every Other Day

I was looking through picture albums over the past few weeks. Joshua and Jess are expecting and I’m going to be a Nana (or Mimi? feel free to vote) in a little over a month! Anyway, we were planning a slide show for a virtual shower and I needed to send pictures of Joshua. I got caught up in the memories and a simple project took me hours!

I, like many of you I’m sure, took pictures of my kids standing on the porch, ready to head off to their first day of school each year. Likewise, I took pictures of them when they arrived home from their last day of school the following June (I liked the side by side…see how they’ve grown comparison!).

Reflecting now, I remember that few days were as emotionally charged as the first and last day of a school year.

This year, I’m sure you experienced the first day being like every other first day. Your kids’ emotions ranged from elation to downright disdain at the thought of spending the next one hundred and seventy-eight weekdays at school.

And then, there was the last day. Except no one knew it was the last day. What started as an early Spring Break, quickly morphed into virtual learning, and you parents, became full time teachers on top of doing your own jobs—all from home.

And when the last day finally arrived, it was not nearly as exciting as the last days in years gone by.

Why? Because your kids had already been home for three months!

In a normal world, kids are supposed to be going back to school after spending two and a half months at home. But instead, you still get to do summer—another two and a half months of togetherness.

A summer marked by social distancing and masks.

We don’t even know if our favorite summer hangouts will be open. If they are open, will it be like it was before COVID-19?

Done is still done… we still have to do summer.

From a ministry perspective, I cannot even wrap my brain around it. Summer is the time when I get to hang with your kids and host a crazy VBS which always results with me dancing in the sanctuary! But not this year…

Summer will be different from summers before.

But it will also be different from the last three months of your children’s pseudo-summer.
There will not be Zoom meetings. You will not have to make sure your child finished his math homework between conference calls.

You made it!

You made it through the last weeks of school together, and you are still upright. You may have limped across that finish line, but last time I checked, done is still done.

So here you go. You can do this! Just like you adapted to “school at home,” you will adjust to a summer of masks. Rally the troops. Make a plan. Embrace the fact that you have been gifted (yes, gifted) more time with your kids.

If you have no idea where to start, have your kids make a summer bucket list.
Have them write (or dictate) everything they would like to do together over the summer months. Then, rank them in order from the most realistic to the most outrageous.

Here are some ideas:
  • Watch a movie in the backyard.
  • Take cookies to the fire station.
  • Make matching T-shirts.
  • Play on the trampoline with the sprinkler.
  • Go to the beach.

Here are some family ideas I might suggest:
  • Make a list of places you would like to visit around the world and prepare a meal from those locations.
  • Go on a picnic.
  • Eat a meal without using silverware.
  • Have a “color-themed” meal… each item you eat must be the same color (thank you Swanson family!).
  • Put on a family talent show.
  • Walk ten miles in a week.
  • Visit three new parks.
  • Play a board game.
The activities don’t have to be fancy.

Make your list and cross them off as you do them. It will give you a sense of accomplishment and something that you can use to plan your day.

It can also be a motivator: “When you finish your chores, we can pick something to do on your bucket list.”

Truly, the sky is the limit.

Yes—we still have to do summer.

There will be a point with your children when you begin to count time by summers left. This is the number of summers your children will still be at home before they leave for college or wherever God leads them. Some of you have 18, others 9 or 5. Relish this time… even though you have already spent three months quarantined together.
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