This sign appeared on the kids’ bedroom door last Friday:
Truly, it couldn’t have made me happier. Not only was I, you know, not having a great day and needing some space, I was thrilled that they had finally gotten bored enough that they really got into the fort building thing.
I couldn’t/didn’t take any pictures (see sign, above), but I will tell you: this thing involved removing slats from the bunk bed, secret passages, mattresses as walls — the whole bit. They worked so hard on it that they wanted to figure out a way to sleep without messing it up, and when that effort failed, they just put it right back together when they got up in the morning.
My heart swells at the thought . . . .
We were lucky enough to 1. snag an invite to my teacher’s lake house this summer and 2. actually be able to go.
We spent all day there because we are the first-to-arrive, last-to-leave kind of people when it comes to lakes. After all, when the only other “Lakeside” your kids are familiar with is the splash pad at Prospect Park, you jump at the chance to acquaint them with the real thing.
And it was a good thing we planned to spend all day there because it was really hard to tear them away. Between the stand-up paddle board, the inflatable whale, and the kayak, there really wasn’t enough time in the day.
Simon took to the paddle sports as if he’d actually known they existed before and had been dying for the chance to get an actual paddle in his hands. He cruised all over the lake in the kayak with either Micah or I chasing him on the paddle board. By the end of the day he was getting a little bit tired, but even then I had to put my foot down and tell him we needed to leave.
The whale on the other hand . . . it’s a shame it looked so fun. Oliver and Elsa kept taking turns with it which may have been fun for them, though I can’t really imagine how. Unless your idea of fun is to sit precariously for a few moments before losing balance and falling into the water. Micah and I took plenty of turns keeping them upright before we decided the whale was tired and needed to rest.
But the real lesson of the day was that owning a lake house is a really good idea. Something to aim for, something to work toward.
It’s been, oh, you know, 6 months since we had these pictures taken by our friend Adam Grimshaw. But we finally got them printed, framed, and hung on the wall.
And I love them ever so much. We’re not big professional-portrait kind of people (well, one of us isn’t . . .) so we waited a long time to do something like this (well, one of us waited a long time . . .) and I’m willing to admit that it was worth the wait. So very worth it.
We’ve been riding bikes a lot lately. Simon is able to ride along with me when I go for a run around the park, and Oliver — who was hardly able to ride at the beginning of the summer — has gotten so good that he wanted a chance to ride to the park last week. So he took his bike, Simon took his, and I took mine — along with a couple of bungee cords to attach his to mine when he got tired.
The park is less than a mile from our house, and I was glad I had Elsa on my bike still so I could ride on the sidewalks and coach Oliver (though Simon could have probably done a fine job of making sure his brother was safe at all the intersections). Once we actually got to the park and were past the hardest part, Oliver started waxing eloquent:
“Mom, I’m trained to do this. You trained me to do this, Mom.”
“Yep! And you are such a tireless learner and hard worker that you learned it really quickly.”
“Mom, that’s actually called a rockstar.”
And so it is, my son. So it is. Let it be known that I’m raising rockstars over here. As you can plainly see.
(And let the record show that I didn’t need the bungee cords: Oliver rode 4 miles on his own, on his little tiny bike with tiny wheels and tiny gears.)
There are only 5 weeks left of summer. But whose counting? Me. I’m counting. This is the first time we’ve had a truly defined summer break and in all honesty, it’s . . . hard.
Hard because I think I’m failing if we don’t get out and do a bunch of fun, exciting things.
Hard because sometimes I’m pulling teeth to do it.
Hard because it is going so fast that I’m afraid we’re missing opportunities left and right.
Hard because filling up 5 more weeks with a solid balance of activity and rest seems like a tall order.
But then again, pulling teeth and balancing and missed opportunities aside, it’s also a lot of fun. We get to ride our bikes around the block and around the park. We get to stay out late and ignore bedtimes. We get to go to the park and lie in the grass. We get to go to the beach (two thumbs up!) and to to the pool (two thumbs down!) and to the splash pad.
And even though I’m feeling the crunch to fill our buckets with fun before September 4th, I’m also feeling like I’m double-dipping. I had my own childhood summers, and now I get to help the kids have theirs. And even though it is their childhood and not mine, and they are going back to school and not me, I still feel some of that magic and joy and freedom that comes with riding bikes as the sun sets and the crickets start to chirp. And part of that magic comes from the fact that it only lasts for a season, and then it’s gone.