Last Friday, my son’s OT asked him if he was having a fun summer. He answered yes. I knew what questions were coming next.
What have you been doing?
Have you gone anywhere?
Are you planning on any trips?
What else will you do this Summer?
As I heard this conversation play out, I was tempted to interrupt this exchange and set the record straight.
I didn’t. But I almost did!
The other waiting adults smiled uncomfortably when I looked at them. They heard it too and were secretly glad that their family adventures (or lack there of) weren’t being shared. I almost turned to them to report about the birthday party, new puppy, swimming lessons, day trips, and other events.
I didn’t…but I was so close!
Are we headed to Disneyland or “The Big Island” for a vacation? No. Are we planning an RV excursion to Yellowstone or The Grand Canyon? No.
The absence of these trips is not an oversight. At this point, my son does not like heat, sun, crowds, loud noises and truthfully…most unfamiliar locations for too long. Will it always be like this? I don’t think so, but at this point…it is hard to shell out a big chunk of change and then have a miserable child. This almost guarantees a miserable trip.
Are we doing anything? Yes. Is it memorable? I hope so.
I have to admit that after I overheard this conversation, I felt the need to remind my son of things that we have done and those activities still on the agenda! I must have secretly wondered if we were doing enough because I did look at the calendar and think about adding plans.
Maybe that empty weekend we should plan a hotel stay. Everyone knows my TBP is a sucker for a heavenly bed, swimming pool, and room service. We could camp out in Granny and Grampy’s backyard or spend a few more days at the beach.
Here’s the thing…I know what is coming. It is the “What was the best part of your summer” writing piece that will be assigned only days after starting the new year. I already dread the words that I picture written across his first paper of second grade.
I played Mine Craft all summer!!
It bothers me. It shouldn’t, but it does!
As a teacher, you read the summer narratives and you begin to judge. Maybe “judge” is too harsh of a word but, you form opinions…even if you don’t realize it. The assignment is supposed to provide you with a baseline of skills and it does, but there is a part of you that thinks, “What a great learning opportunity!” “Wow! He had lots of great family time!”
If I pack the remaining weeks with fun-filled activities, does that guarantee a different writing result? His current obsession is what he thinks about, reads about, writes about, and talks (and talks) about all the time. No doubt…This WILL be the topic of the summer writing.
Bottom line is this… When our family looks back on this summer, is it filled with family time? Were we able to do a few extraordinary things that the school year schedule (or weather) doesn’t allow?
There is a lot of pressure to squeeze a whole lot of joy into a couple of months. What about the joy you have for the rest of the year?! So here’s what I am thinking…we should pledge to have a great year instead of so much focus on July and August! Maybe spend one day each weekend doing something that we WANT to do instead of what we should do!
I like it! I think we will try it! I will tell you how it’s going throughout the year! 🙂
I like it too! It’s so hard to push aside the things that we HAVE to do. But if you (and me too) make a conscious effort to do the things you want to do on the weekend (even if only for a short amount of time) it helps make the things you have to do seem less daunting.
You are definitely right about kids’ obsessions. They eat, sleep and live what they love. Like you said, the teacher is looking at writing skill and sentence structure more than what your son actually did during the summer months. And so what if that’s what he writes about…if he’s passionate (which it sounds like he is), it will be the best written paper his teacher will have ever read!
Enjoy the rest of your summer….school is quickly approaching. I wouldn’t pack too much into it. Maybe restful weekends with family is just what he needs to prepare for the school year (and maybe mom needs it too) 🙂
Oster’s Mom-Thank you for the kind words. He is lucky that most of the days are a slower pace during the summer. You are right that he needs more of that.
I have to admit, we are planning a short two day trip after talking about our plans. Because we didn’t have any luck swimming on our last trip, we promised him a hotel trip with pool. 😉
Yes…the summer us soaring by quickly! You enjoy your August too!
What a great idea. We have been doing something similar ever we can go further than the grocery store with Livi in the car. One day, usually Saturday, we take care of the necessary chores and shopping, etc. and the other day, we do something together as a family. We still can’t go too far but we have been exploring local parks and have actually discovered a lot of fun new things to do.
I hope you have a great year!
Thank you! We are motivated to make sure that we don’t wait for vacations to do fun, family activities! Thanks for your support and great reminder!
Yes, there’s more to do in the summer than spend a ton of money on exotic vacations. It can be very interesting (and even fun) to explore the neighborhoods and communities where we live. As a kid, I liked to just take a walk down the country road, look for lizards under rocks and pull carrots out of my grandparents’ garden and eat them – dirt and all. It’s the little things we remember.
@Diane-Your point is well taken!! I remember camping, my grandparents lake house, riding in my Dad’s convertible, and kickball with neighborhood friends. Things seem more complicated now…but maybe we (me for sure) make it this way with high expectations. Thanks for your comments! Hope you will visit again 😉
You made a wise decision to consider your son’s capabilities in planning the summer. Try not to be bothered by what others may think… they are not in your shoes. I like the idea of not feeling pressured to the things others think you should do. Have a great year! 🙂
Thank you for your continued support and voice of reason! If we plan too much OR don’t have enough structure, we’re paying the price. It is a balancing act that we now understand better. Here’s to a good August!