Thursday, May 23, 2013

Dream On

I love these last days of school, the days where I hold tight to what I've come to enjoy for so many months - long days with "just Pax"; busy days of Gettin' It Done; quiet afternoons; rigid structure, carefully crafted routines; predictable schedules.

And I love the anticipation of what's to come.  As I hold on to what has been so good, simultaneously I look forward to what will be good.  I anticipate what summer promises to be, what I expect it to be, based on years and years of stockpiling memories, both those we enjoyed as children and those we build with our own children.  Every year, I think about how this might just be the best summer ever, even though the language changes each time.  "This will be the best summer yet because we'll have our new baby... because we're going to California... because Jeff's finished with school... because of swim team... because I'm finished with clinics..."

I love the intentions I have in these final school days - the goals; the plans; the dreams.

Field Trip Fridays.  We'll pack a cooler every Friday morning and take off on adventure:  Maymont; the sprinkler park; geocaching, if we can get Daddy to stay home one day.  We'll have a rainy day Friday where we'll stay in and paint canvases, or head out to watch a movie.  We'll each look forward to the end of the week, in a deliciously different way than we did during the school year.

Weekly dinner picnics.  Everyone will love what I pack, no one will complain that they wanted only cream cheese on their bagel, not jelly, too.  We'll head to the beach, or borrow the boat for the evening, or simply head down to the clubhouse for dinner. 

Summer reading:  a stack of read-alouds I'll prepare in advance, carefully balancing adventure with quality literature and thought-provoking work.  I'll pile them high against the mantle in eye candy-anticipation of what we'll enjoy.  I'll have books and books of just-right text for Leo; enticing titles piled high of the all-absorbing books that Aidan favors, books like Wonder and Rules.  I'll have a basket of books just for Pax, ones he'll flip through, independently and often, studying the illustrations and memorizing the text. In late afternoons, we'll curl up on the couch, sip lemonade (Aidan) or iced coffee (Anne, Leo, and Pax) and read together.

Writing:  we'll fill up Bare Books of poetry and creative stories we've drafted, revised, edited, and published.  We'll draw inspiration from nature, from characters we're reading in other stories, from the "Poem of the Week" I'll post every Monday morning on the refrigerator.

Me time:  I'll squeeze in the exercise I require for my mental health and sanity as the kids happily watch a television show they all agree on, or maybe I'll put together fitness routines I can do outside as they ride their bikes around me - we'll be out on the street, first thing, before we get too hot.  We'll all hop on bikes together and cruise the streets; we'll take a trip over to Grandma and Grandpa's house by bike.    

Quiet Time in the afternoon will be just that - quiet.  I'll stock their rooms with the aforementioned books, plus headphones and CD players for audiobooks, or art supplies for concentrated doodling.

I'll take the extra time in summer to host playdates and impromptu lunches with friends.  I'll put each boy on a rotation in the kitchen with me so that they learn more cooking skills and dinner prep.  We'll visit the local farmer's market regularly, and use what we purchase to inspire our dinners. They'll learn how to clean the bathrooms to my satisfaction; we'll find a better way to tackle cleaning up the house.  They'll learn to make their own sandwiches, dole out their own snacks, and calmly and efficiently pack the cooler each morning before we head out to the pool, the beach, or Friday Field Trip. 

Notice what I didn't include:  I didn't mention vows I've made with myself, like never, not ever grocery shopping with three children.  Sometimes, those outdoor picnics will be because there is no food left to cook until a free evening arrives, and we're left to scrabbling together PB&Js.  I didn't include a goal about not cursing swim team when it's 9:00 at night and I'm waiting out a thunderstorm in a hot stuffy car so my six year old can take 4 minutes to swim backstroke across a pool 45 minutes away from home, surrounded by tired, cranky people and fully depleted of contents for my closed container.  I didn't mention how I'll combat the dirt and sand that covers my floor from little, careless feet who could care less about the filth that, left untreated, turns me into Mean Monster Mother.  I certainly didn't dream of eliminating the most unbecoming or annoying habits of each of my children:  know-it-all attitude and sassy mouth; whining and tattling; hitting and biting.... 

....because ALL of these goals and plans are lofty.  Unrealistic.  Unattainable.  But the dreaming itself is not lofty, and it is the dreaming that I love.  Summer offers us a fresh start, a new beginning, a series of days to celebrate merely because they are summer days.  In every one of these dreams, there is some truth of what will become the memories of this summer.  There will be field trips, and lots of reading, and good, quality writing, and me time, and picnics, and quiet time, and extra time, and so much more...

In fact, this summer sounds like it might just be the best one yet.



Susan said...

and I am dreaming of extra time with you and all three boys....and maybe a little extra time just me and you. So, let's hope both our dreams can come whatever fashion it is possible.

elfstone326 said...

I love this post.