While the arrival of summer for many parents is an exciting and welcome time of the year, as a working parent, it has typically been a stressful time for me. Actually April and May are more stressful because that's the time when I have to plan the whole summer, sign up for camps, and find babysitters. I have always wanted my kids to just be home to relax and hang out with their friends. Instead their time was taken up with camps and babysitters and although they always had a great time, it just wasn't the way I envisioned my kids spending their summers.
A few years ago we took a different approach and the kids went to the Cape for the summer, spending time with my parents, Tim's parents, and my sisters. We had "visitation" on the weekends. There were a few camps sprinkled in there and they would occasionally come home and have a sitter for a week but they absolutely loved being at the Cape. Who wouldn't?? They were spending their days at the beach, mini golfing, eating ice cream and candy, having soda, going out to dinner, and Cape Cod Baseball League games. They were staying up late and sleeping late. They were playing with their cousins, going fishing, and taking boat rides. They were living the life.
Year one Timmy and I didn't know what to do with our free time. We went out to dinner with friends, hosted happy hours at our house, ate at 9 at night if we ate at all, showed up at our friends house with a deck of cards and bottle of wine, and stayed up late watching whatever we wanted. We loved having a taste of freedom as much as the kids did. Although in the end, the kids asked if they could be home a little more the next year. They missed their pets and us. And yes, in that order.
Year two, I was on my sabbatical and we had the kind of summer I had imagined. We camped - alot! And we went to the Cape and also stayed home. We spend the time together going to the beach, mini golfing, getting ice cream, and doing all those things that I hoped our summer would be filled with. We had a blast, although being together with your kids every day, all day, without a break for 3 months can wear on all of you. I'm just being honest people. I love them but oh dear, those summer days that blazed with heat and had no breeze...and we were stuck at home....it can wear even the tough souled down to the nub.
Year three, we had fun for about two weeks and then we decided we really needed to spend this time doing projects around the house. Summer #3 was not as much fun. We started projects and then it got late, it was hot, and we lost our motivation. So, we had a lot of unfinished projects laying around. And we missed the kids alot. I spent a lot of nights sighing...aka pining for my kids. They did come home more often which was good but when we reflected on what changes we wanted to make for this summer, they said they wanted to be at the Cape more again.
This year is summer #4 and we have a good mix of time when the kids are at the Cape or at home, although they will mostly be at the Cape again, as they requested. So far Jack has had a week with each grandmother and has been spoiled rotten and loved every minute of it. Mimi was away with friends for a few days in Vermont and then spent this week as an only child - babysitting for her cousins in the day and then going to field hockey camp at night. And typcially spending each night with her friend who went to camp with her. Two nights ago she told me she was exhausted from being a "working girl" and last night she told me this has been the best week "ever"! I wish I could have their summers!
Next up, a little family camping time in Truro and then they are off to their grandparents again to some more time to be spoiled, as only grandparents can do.
I know they will look back on these summers as the best times and I have to say I have great peace of mind knowing that the kids are with those that love them and truly enjoy having them there each summer. And I'm sure I'll be sighing in two weeks when they are gone again all week. In fact, I'm sighing just thinking about it :)